Jun. 1, 2013 (TSR) – His Royal Highness King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia left Jeddah for a private holiday vacation in Morocco according to Saudi Royal Order issued on Friday.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah issued a decree and has deputized, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, to administer the affairs of the State and take care of the interests of the people during His Royal Highness’ absence.
His half-brother Prince Salman, born in 1935, was named crown prince in June last year after the death of Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz.
This is for the second time that 82-year-old Salman bin Abdul Aziz accepts the responsibilities of King Abdullah since last June.
However, Saudi sources said that King Abdullah would spend a month of holiday in Morocco and would return to Saudi Arabia when his health improved.
The King, born in 1924, has spent time in Morocco recovering after operations in recent years.
King Abdullah is still having difficulty walking after two operations in October 2011 and November 2012 to correct a “ligamentary slackening” in the upper back.
Doctors discharged him from hospital in December last year.
The king’s age and his hospitalisations regularly give rise to rumours about the future leadership of the kingdom, which is the world top oil exporter and a key player in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is reported to be clinically dead as the monarch is not recently seen in the public according to Press TV.
A Saudi journalist working for London-Based Asharq Alawsat says the Saudi monarch has been clinically dead since Wednesday.
He also quoted medical sources in Saudi Arabia as saying that the king’s vital organs, including his heart, kidneys and lungs, have stopped functioning.
Doctors are said to have used a defibrillator on him several times. He is also reported to be alive with the help of a ventilator.
However, just this week, King Abdullah on Monday upgraded the National Guard to a ministry to be headed by Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah according to Saudi News Agency (SPA).
“The Ministry of the National Guard will replace the Presidency of the National Guard and the Minister of the National Guard will replace the Commander of the National Guard wherever they are used in systems, regulations, decisions and Royal orders and decrees,” said a Royal decree. Sandhurst-educated Prince Mitab, who heads the force, has been appointed Minister of National Guard, the decree said.
Prince Miteb took the oath of office before King Abdullah at his palace in Jeddah on May 27.
King Abdullah had himself led the National Guard from 1962 to 2010, when he handed its command over to Prince Mitab.
The Saudi National Guard is a trained army of around 110,000 men, divided into infantry units, mechanized brigades, special units, and military police. Its duty is mainly to support the Interior Ministry in preserving security, combatting terrorism, and protecting vital installations across the Kingdom.
This particular office also assists the Defense Ministry, if needed. Prince Meteb attended the Taif-Barmana School in Lebanon and secondary school in Jeddah. Later, he went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating as a lieutenant.
Prince Miteb started his career as head of the commission responsible for reviewing the curricula of military college built in 1982.
One year later, in 1983, King Fahd promoted Captain Miteb to the rank of colonel, and he was also appointed commander of the King Khalid Military City.
In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of the team.
In 2000, Prince Miteb was made deputy assistant chief of the National Guard responsible for military affairs.
In June 2009, King Abdullah appointed him as Deputy Commander of the National Guard responsible for executive affairs at the rank of minister.
On November 17, 2010, he became the Commander of the National Guard. He was also appointed as a Cabinet member with the rank of minister of state in November 2010.
SPA published pictures showing princes and officials greeting the king at Jeddah airport before his departure for Morocco, where the royal family has properties in Casablanca and the southwestern port of Agadir.
The current report challenges rumors in the media that the ageing monarch’s health had deteriorated seriously.