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Funeral For Saudi Arabia's King Fahd Set for Tuesday

  • VOA News

Saudi officials have begun preparations for the funeral of King Fahd, which will be held Tuesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. King Fahd passed away in a Riyadh hospital early Monday.

The longtime Saudi ruler was believed to be about 82 years old, and had suffered declining health in recent months.

Officials say there will be no mourning period for the king, nor will the Saudi flag be lowered to half-staff.

Both customs would contradict the kingdom's strict version of Islam known as Wahhabism. Fahd's brother, the former Crown Prince Abdullah, has assumed the Saudi throne.

The new king has been Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler since Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995. King Fahd was much respected for his care of Muslim holy sites at Mecca and Medina, and his support of various Muslim causes.

He was an ardent supporter of Islamic fighters who battled the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

But King Fahd angered Islamic extremists, including Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, when he allowed U.S. troops on Saudi soil in 1990 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

His government oversaw a crackdown on Islamic militants in the Saudi kingdom that began in 2003 and continues today.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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