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Saudi King Abdullah returns after month-long Morocco trip

The 88-year-old monarch is likely to travel directly to Medina where he is expected to "lay the foundation stone for the expansion of the Prophet's mosque," according to officials.

RIYADH // Saudi King Abdullah will return home today after nearly a month-long private trip to Morocco, a Saudi official said today.

The 88-year-old monarch will likely travel directly to Medina where he is expected to "lay the foundation stone for the expansion of the Prophet's mosque," one of Islam's three oldest mosques in the world, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Local newspapers also reported the king would return today.

King Abdullah is a frequent visitor to Morocco where his family owns palaces in Casablanca, the economic capital, and Agadir to the south-west.

King Abdullah left the new heir to the throne, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also deputy prime minister and defence minister, in charge of the kingdom during his absence, the SPA news agency reported.

The trip also marked the first time the Saudi monarch travelled abroad since he appointed Salman, 76, first in line to the throne, in June following the death of Nayef ben Abdel Aziz at the age of 79.

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