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Saudi king appoints new spy chief as regional crisis spreads

Published on Jul 1, 2014 3:40 PM

RIYADH (REUTERS) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has appointed Prince Khaled bin Bandar as head of intelligence three months after his predecessor, who was in charge of efforts to support Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, was sacked.

It was unclear from the royal decree issued late on Monday whether Prince Khaled will have a similar brief on Syria.

A former soldier, he served during the last year as both deputy defence minister and governor of Riyadh, one of the most prominent roles occupied by senior ruling family members in the absolute monarchy.

Saudi Arabia has watched with increasing alarm in recent weeks as Sunni militants in Iraq, who count Saudi citizens in their number, have seized swathes of territory and declared the creation of an Islamic Caliphate in that country and in Syria.

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