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Prince Mohammed Bin Saud, Influential Saudi Prince, Dead

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In this Tuesday, May 12, 2009 photo, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Saud bin Abdel-Aziz speaks with his visitors at his palace in Al Baha province southwestern the Capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia says Prince Mohammed bin Saud has died outside the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) | AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia says a senior prince and former defense minister has died.

The 78-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Saud was not in line for the Saudi throne, but wielded influence as part of a council of royal family members that helps select the heirs to rule the oil-rich Western ally.

The official Saudi Press Agency says Mohammed died Sunday, but gave no other details.

Mohammed served as defense minister in the early 1960s and managed to retain political significance after his father King Saud was forced from the throne in 1964. Mohammed also served as governor of Al Baha province in southwestern Saudi Arabia from 1986 to 2010.

Funeral prayers are planned for Monday.

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