One day after he was revealed to have implored Washington to launch military strikes against iran, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah finds himself at the epicenter of a second media firestorm -- this time, for commandeering the entire wing of one of New York City's top hospitals to recover from back surgery.
According to the New York Post, the 86-year-old monarch irked fellow patients by block-booking the VIP floor of New York Presbyterian Hospital, which contains the facility's best treatment and recovery rooms, in an effort to maintain his privacy after undergoing surgery for a blood clot and slipped disc Nov. 24.
"Patients are grumbling that they have been moved out to other areas of the hospital, and that despite there being a number of unused VIP treatment rooms, they can't be moved into them because they are all reserved for the king of Saudi Arabia," a family member of one patient is quoted by the Post as saying.
Saudi Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah would only confirm that King Abdullah -- who reportedly told U.S. officials to "cut the head off the snake" by launching military strikes in Iran, according to documents released by WikiLeaks yesterday -- was in "reassuring" health, but offered few further details. "He has begun a programme of physical therapy and rehabilitation as recommended by his doctors," he is quoted by the AFP as saying. There has been no indication how long the king will remain in the U.S.