DUBAI/CAIRO: Oman’s ailing Sultan Qaboos bin Said, one of the Middle East’s longest serving rulers, died on Friday and the Gulf state’s high military council called on the ruling family to convene to choose a successor, state media said.
Three days of official mourning have been declared, with flags flown at half-mast for 40 days for the Western-backed Qaboos, 79, who had ruled since taking over in a bloodless coup in 1970 with the help of former colonial power Britain.
State news agency ONA did not give a cause of death, but Qaboos had been unwell for years and spent a week in Belgium undergoing medical treatment in early December.
Qaboos had no children and had not publicly appointed a successor. A 1996 statute says the ruling family will choose a successor within three days of the throne becoming vacant.
The high military council, in a statement carried on state media on Saturday, called on Oman’s ruling family council to convene to choose a new ruler.