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Saudi royal family in flight

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King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has been secretly flown out of the kingdom to his palace in Geneva, Switzerland, reports the private intelligence service DEBKAfile based on Persian Gulf and Middle East sources.

The royal mobile hospital fitted aboard Boeing 757 HZ-HMED landed in the private VIP section of the Geneva airport Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 19. A palace conclave led by Crown Prince Abdullah, who effectively rules the kingdom, decided to remove the chronically ailing monarch to safety, fearing he might be stranded in the middle of a military crisis arising from the impending U.S. offensive against international terrorism.

The royal hospital plane was accompanied by another craft of the royal flight carrying the king’s family and entourage.

Riyadh is reportedly concerned about the possibility of a major terrorist attack on the royal palaces being sparked by the outbreak of hostilities in Afghanistan or elsewhere, as the U.S. prepares for a major offensive against the forces of Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden.

A group of princes was therefore carried to a safe place in the additional fleet of 10 royal aircraft that ferried members of the Saudi royal family to Geneva. More than a dozen Mercedeses waited on the tarmac of Geneva International Airport to collect the royal arrivals.

The Saudi royal airlift, which began Tuesday night, is still in progress, according to DEBKA’s sources. Two more private royal planes are expected in the VIP section of Geneva airport tomorrow.

The Saudi royal family has long been concerned about the rise of Islamic radicalism within its own kingdom.

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