RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crown prince on Monday assured cabinet members over the health of King Abdullah, who underwent back surgery on November 18 and has since remained in hospital, state news agency SPA reported.
It said Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz chaired a cabinet meeting and “assured (ministers) over the health” of the ailing king, of whom no photograph has been released since his hospitalisation.
The cabinet said at the time that the monarch had “successfully” undergone a new operation on his back to correct “a ligamentary slackening in the upper back.”
While daily official reports have said the king's sons have been receiving well-wishers at the hospital in Riyadh, rumours over his health have spread on the Twitter microblogging website.
The sovereign had a similar operation in October 2011.
In November 2010, he was operated on in New York for a slipped disc complicated by a blood clot that put pressure on his spine, and he underwent a further operation the following month before convalescing for a month in Morocco.
The king's age and his frequent hospitalisation regularly feed rumours about the future leadership of the Muslim kingdom, the world top oil exporter and a key player in the Middle East.
The king's half-brother Prince Salman, 76, was named crown prince in June after the death of Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. -AFP