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King Salman sacks chief of staff in major military shake-up

Saudi King Salman has sacked the military chief of staff and a host of other commanders in a major shake-up, state media said Monday citing a series of royal decrees.

“Termination of the services of General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan, Chief of Staff,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said, adding that Fayyad al-Ruwaili had been appointed as his replacement.

The monarch also replaced the heads of the ground forces and air defences.

No official reason was given for the changes, but they come as the kingdom’s bloody conflict with Yemen’s Huthi rebels nears the end of its third year.

A Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government has been fighting the Huthis since 2015 in a conflict that has led to what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne and the son of the monarch, is the country’s defence minister and has been consolidating his grip on power in recent months. – AFP

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