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Wed 7 Jan 2015 12:09 PM

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King Abdullah assures Saudis on security

In a speech read by Crown Prince Salman, the ailing king moved to assure citizens the kingdom was safe after three border guards were killed on Monday in a suspected terrorist attack by ISIL

King Abdullah assures Saudis on security
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has moved to reassure citizens they are safe following a suspected terrorist attack that killed three border guards, including the chief, on Monday.

Still in hospital after suffering from pneumonia, King Abdullah’s speech was read by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, deputy premier and minister of defense, on state television.

“Today, as you know, your country is facing unprecedented regional challenges that have resulted from severe crises that have swept through neighbouring or nearby countries and that pushed them toward civil wars and sectarian conflicts,” the King’s speech said.

“This should make us cautious. I would like to assure you that your leadership is aware of these challenges and their consequences.

“With Allah’s help and support, your country will continue to enjoy the blessings that Allah bestowed on it, foremost of which is the blessing of peace and stability.”

The two border guards and their commanding officer were killed during a shootout at a checkpoint about 40 kilometres north of the city Arar and near the Iraqi province of Anbar, which is held by ISIL fighters.

At least one analyst has said that it is the first direct attack by ISIL on Saudi Arabia, which has supported the US-led coalition against it in Iraq and Syria.

Security has since been increased, authorities said on Monday. It already had been beefed up in July when ISIL made significant in-roads in Iraq.

King Abdullah also commented on the oil price crash, assuring citizens the leaders were managing the crisis.

“Your government has dealt with such developments in the past with wisdom and astuteness. It will deal with the current developments in the oil market as it did in the past,” Crown Prince Salman read on the king’s behalf.

“The kingdom will continue to defend its economic interests and its international status through a national perspective that takes into account its citizens’ prosperity, sustainable development and the interests of present and future generations.”

The king has been in hospital for more than a week, according to reports. Saudi officials say he is 91 years old, although the US says he is 98.