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Saudi king not aware of his surroundings, report says

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is suffering from periodic blackouts and inability to speak, a new report says.

The health of the 80-year-old monarch is increasingly deteriorating and he is under regular medical care, the Palestinian Manar online newspaper cited an Arab official as saying on Wednesday.

The unnamed source further said that King Salman has lost awareness of his surroundings, prompting physicians to advise his sons to restrict their father’s public appearances in a bid not to disclose the worsening conditions. The king is said to have been confined in one of the rooms of his palace.

A separate report in early October also said that the king was thought to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and the royal government was practically administered by his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

The failing health of the Saudi monarch has also led to an intense game of throne among the royal family.

On October 23, an unnamed Saudi prince told The Independent that eight of the 12 surviving sons of the founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, support the measure to remove King Salman and replace him with his 73-year-old brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz.

The prince also said that a majority of the country’s powerful clerics, known as the Ulama, would support a coup to oust the current ruler and install Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a former interior minister, in his place.

There has been mounting discontent at the Saudi king's decisions, including his controversial appointments, the brutal and costly war against impoverished Yemen, and the execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Salman was crowned as the king of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015, following the death of his half brother, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the age of 90.

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