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Saudi king sacks deputy defence minister

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Saturday sacked the deputy defence minister, Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, just a month and a half after appointing him.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Saturday sacked the deputy defence minister, Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, just a month and a half after appointing him.

A royal decree cited by the official SPA news agency said the decision was taken at the request of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who also holds the defence portfolio.

The reasons for the move were not immediately known, and no successor was announced for Prince Khaled, who was named to the post on May 14.

Saturday's move comes amid fears in Saudi Arabia of a spillover of the violence in neighbouring Iraq from a Sunni militant offensive in the Shiite-majority country.

On Thursday, King Abdullah instructed authorities in the oil-rich kingdom to take "necessary measures" to defend it from jihadists battling the Baghdad government.

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