Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (4E) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has undergone surgery at a local hospital to tighten a loose ligament in his back.
The surgery on King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was done at the National Guard’s King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh on Saturday, the royal court said. The surgery lasted until 3:15 a.m. Sunday morning.
It was the third surgery for the king, who is in his 80s. An operation in October last year also tightened ligaments around his third vertebra. In November 2010, he had a surgery in the U.S. to fix a slipped disc.
The health of the king, who succeeded King Fahd in 2005, is crucial to the kingdom and the region as it is the world’s largest oil exporter and a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.
In line to succeed the king is Crown Prince Salman, his brother who is also deputy premier and minister of defense.