Royal Saudi sensation: King Abdullah names Sudairi Prince Nayef second in line
28 March: Riyadh is in uproar over the Saudi King Abdullah's snap decision to promote the interior minister Prince Nayef, 76, his half-brother from the rival Sudairi clan, to second deputy prime minister. This places him in direct line to the throne as the incumbent Crown Prince defense minister Prince Sultan lies on his deathbed. The official appointment took immediate effect.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly weekly has been reporting for months that Sultan was dying of small intestine cancer. While establishing himself as a modernizing reformer in the hidebound oil kingdom, Abdullah held back four years from slotting the conservative Sudairi Prince after Sultan in the line of succession. He had hoped to break the pattern whereby the throne was handed around among the many sons of the dynasty's founder Ibn Saud and start introducing grandsons to the order of succession. His preferred candidate was foreign minister Saud al Faisal. This plan fell through when the prince developed Parkinson's disease.
Nayef is expected to be the most conservative and radical of any Saudi monarch to date. One of the few Saudi princes never to have visited Washington, the Obama administration might find his friendships with Islamic radical institutions useful to open Taliban doors for ending the Afghanistan conflict. For Israel, Nayef is bad news. He is likely to give more backing than the Abdullah did tor Hamas and other extremist Palestinian elements.
Israeli teenager dies of axe wounds inflicted by Palestinian terrorist 02 March: One or more Palestinian terrorists rampaged around Bat Ayin, in the West Bank Gush Etzion bloc Thursday, April 2, attacking two Israeli boys with an axe. Shlomo Nativ, 16, died of his wounds, the second, aged 7, suffered a serious skull injury. Residents opened fire on the terrorists who managed to get away. Heavy security reinforcements were rushed to the area. They set up roadblocks and surrounded neighboring Arab villages to search for the killer or killers. All the communities in the area were put on terror alert. The attack occurred on the second day of school holiday for the Passover festival.