Brother of Saudi king and head of succession council dies

May 3, 2017 GMT

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s royal court says an older brother to King Salman has died.

Prince Mishaal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was reportedly 93-years-old. He had been head of the Allegiance Council, the body established to formalize the succession process in the kingdom.

The council is stacked with the sons and prominent grandsons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, the late King Abdulaziz, who vote in secret to pick the king and crown prince from among themselves. The Saudi throne has for decades passed between his sons.

Prince Mishaal had served as defense minister twice in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The royal court said in a statement published on Wednesday by the Saudi Press Agency that funeral prayers will be held in the holy city of Mecca.