Saudi Royal Court says King Salman discharged from hospital

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has been discharged from a hospital in the capital Riyadh after more than a week following surgery to remove his gall bladder

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Saudi Arabia's King Salman was discharged from a hospital in the capital Riyadh after more than a week following surgery to remove his gall bladder, the Royal Court said.

The court said in a statement late Thursday the monarch, 84, left the King Faisal Specialist Hospital after a recovery.

King Salman was admitted to the hospital July 20 with inflammation of his gall bladder. A few days later, he was operated on. The procedure was described as a laparoscopic surgery — a low-risk procedure that usually involves only small incisions and a tiny camera to aid the surgeons’ work.

The gallbladder, a small, pouch-like organ near the liver that stores bile, can easily be removed and is not critical for life. Surgeons often take it out if it begins to bother a patient.

His reign has been marked by quick, sweeping changes in a country accustomed to slow, gradual reforms. Since coming to power, he’s taken the country to war in Yemen, hardened the kingdom’s stance toward Shiite rival Iran and severed ties with neighboring Qatar.

He’s empowered his 34-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his successor. The crown prince’s assertive and bold style of leadership, as well as his consolidation of power and sidelining of potential rivals, have been controversial.

With the support of his father, Prince Mohammed has transformed the kingdom in recent years, eroding decades of ultraconservative restrictions in society as he tries to diversify the Saudi economy away from reliance on oil exports.

The crown prince has also detained dozens of activists and critics, overseen the devastating Yemen war as defense minister and rounded up top members of the royal family in his rise to power. The killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018 has been linked to the crown prince by Western intelligence services and U.S. lawmakers, further straining ties between the kingdom and the U.S.