Middle East & AfricaSaudi Arabia crown prince has successful surgery for appendicitis -state news agency

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Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman attends the Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 20, 2021. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a successful surgical operation for appendicitis and left the hospital in healthy condition, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

Prince Mohammed, 35, underwent laparoscopic surgery in the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh, SPA reported. TV footage showed him walking towards a car waiting for him outside the hospital.

The de facto ruler of the world's largest oil exporter, who was named crown prince in 2017, has built a reputation as a reformer, introducing an ambitious plan to diversify the economy and reduce the oil exporter's dependence on oil by selling off a stake in state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco.

He has also championed reforms to modernise the kingdom and promote a more moderate form of Islam by loosening social restrictions, reducing the role of the religious police, permitting public concerts and ending a ban on women driving.

The prince, next in line to the throne as the first from among the grandsons of the kingdom's founder Ibn Saud, also serves as defence minister and oversees economic and oil strategy.

He has forcibly sidelined potential rivals and led a purge of the country's business and political elite, detaining scores of princes, officials and businessmen in Riyadh's Ritz Carlton hotel as part of a crackdown on corruption in November 2017.

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