Saudi King Abdullah is hospitalized for medical checks, says royal court statement
The statement gives no further details about the state of his health
The king, who is 90 years old, has ruled Saudi Arabia since 2005
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was admitted to a hospital Wednesday for medical tests, according to a statement from the royal court cited by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
The King is in the National Guard Hospital in the capital, Riyadh, the statement said. It gave no further details of his health.
According to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Abdullah, 90, was born in Riyadh in 1924.
He was named crown prince, or heir to the throne, in 1982 and succeeded King Fahd, his half-brother, on his death in 2005.
He had in effect been running the country since Fahd had a stroke in 1996 – and in nearly a decade of ruling on behalf of his brother, he began opening the door to reform.
Since ascending to the throne, he has taken steps toward broader freedoms and has invested some of the country’s vast oil wealth in large-scale education and infrastructure projects.
However, resistance from conservative factions has hindered some of his efforts, leaving many women in particular disappointed by a lack of progress toward greater independence.
Under Abdullah’s leadership, the country has, though, slowly squashed al Qaeda, capturing or killing its leaders in the kingdom, forcing the remnants underground and sidelining radical preachers.
It has also taken a more prominent role in international affairs and is a key U.S. ally in the region.
Earlier this year, it became the lead Arab nation in a U.S.-led coalition to eradicate the ultra-radical ISIS group in Iraq and Syria.
CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.