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king abdullah funeral

Late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was buried on January 23 in an unmarked grave in a public cemetery in Riyadh.

Leaders of the Muslim world and thousands of Saudi subjects paid their final respects to King Abdullah at a simple ceremony at a Riyadh mosque after Friday prayer.

In accordance with royal custom, the body of King Abdullah, who died at 1 AM., was swathed in white and laid out for visitation at the Imam Turki ibn Abdullah Grand Mosque in the capital.

The afternoon funeral was attended by Middle East monarchs and a few presidents from countries near enough to Saudi Arabia to travel to the ceremonies that by Islamic practice must be conducted before the next sundown following a believer’s death.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

World leaders who plan to attend memorials scheduled this weekend sent condolences and praise for King Abdullah’s role as a mediator between the West and Islam.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II left the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to attend the funeral and declared 40 days of mourning in his own kingdom.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared “much sadness” at the news of King Abdullah’s passing and announced three days of mourning in the Palestinian territories.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised King Abdullah for “strengthening cooperation and solidarity in the Muslim world, especially concerning the Palestinian question and the situation in Syria.”

Iran, Saudi Arabia’s chief rival in the Muslim world, sent condolences to the Saudi people and said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would travel to Riyadh to pay respects.

Saudi Arabia’s more austere form of Islam eschews public displays of grief and elaborate ritual, even for its monarchs, who are among the world’s richest men.

King Abdullah was reported to have a net worth of $20 billion.

The funeral was open to the public, including women in their separate section of the mosque, and shops and businesses will remain open during a three-day mourning period.

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World leaders gather in Saudi Arabia to pay their respects in person after the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on January 23.

French President Francois Hollande and UK’s PM David Cameron will be in Riyadh. The US delegation is led by Vice-President Joe Biden.

King Abdullah died Friday at 1 AM, aged 90. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Riyadh after Friday prayers.

King Salman, 79, pledged continuity after his accession to the throne.

He also moved swiftly to appoint heirs and ministers, including one prince from the ruling dynasty’s third generation.

On January 24, Joe Biden, David Cameron and Francois Hollande will take part in official ceremonies in the Saudi capital.King Abdullah funeral in Saudi Arabia

Iran will be represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

King Abdullah died on Friday, weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection, and he was buried later that day.

Within hours of acceding to the throne, King Salman vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors.

“We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” he said.

He named another of King Abdullah’s half-brothers, Muqrin, as the new crown prince.

Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was appointed deputy crown prince, making him second in line to the throne and in effect smoothing the line of succession for years to come.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is a grandson of King Abdulaziz, usually referred to as Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. The crown has so far passed between Ibn Saud’s sons, but few are still alive.

King Abdullah came to the throne in 2005 but had already been Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader for 10 years because his predecessor, King Fahd, had been debilitated by a stroke.

Abdullah had suffered frequent bouts of ill health in recent years, and King Salman had recently taken on the ailing monarch’s responsibilities.

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