Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Nayef dies

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Baku, June 16 (AZERTAC). Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud has died in Switzerland following an illness.

Nayef, who was in his late 70s and next in line to the Saudi throne, died in hospital in Geneva on Saturday.

The prince had been interior minister in the kingdom since 1975 and deputy prime minister. He spearheaded the country's post-September 11 crackdown on al-Qaida. He rose to the position of crown prince after the death of his elder brother, Crown Prince Sultan, in October last year.

The prince had been ill for some months and had been in Switzerland since May for treatment. He had undergone medical tests in the US and although there had been speculation that he had cancer, this has never been officially confirmed.

Earlier this month, Nayef's brother and deputy interior minister, Prince Ahmed told al-Watan newspaper that Nayef was "well and in good health … and he will soon return" to Saudi Arabia.

His uncle King Abdullah said in a statement that funeral prayers would be held for the prince after sunset on Sunday, before a traditional burial. Al Arabiya television channel reported that his funeral would be held in a mosque in the holy city of Mecca.

The succession is likely to pass to another son of the former king Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, possibly Nayef's younger brother, Prince Salman, governor of Riyadh.

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