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Saudi king replaces intelligence Bandar bin Sultan with his deputy Youssef al-Idrisi

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia's king has appointed a new intelligence chief, Youssef al-Idrisi, replacing Bandar bin Sultan in the key post, which oversees the kingdom's support for Syrian rebels.

The Saudi Press Agency carried the royal decree Tuesday saying Bandar had requested to be relieved of the post. Al-Idrisi was Bandar's deputy.

The news comes after security officials told The Associated Press that 65-year-old Bandar was returning to the kingdom after around two months abroad for surgery on his shoulder.

Bandar's responsibilities as head of intelligence included executing Saudi policy in the Levant, including policies toward Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.

Bandar was ambassador to the U.S. for 22 years before becoming director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency in July 2012.

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