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Ibn Saud retakes Riyadh (1)

At the age of 21, Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) decided he should make a decisive move to restore his family's fortunes. With a small band of trusted companions, he set out from Kuwait and reached the outskirts of Riyadh in January, 1902.

The difficulties of taking Riyadh with so small a force were obvious and intimidating. Ibn Saud asked for volunteers to accompany him in the execution of a plan which seemed to have only its boldness to recommend it.

Under the darkness of night, together with his cousin Abdullah bin Jelawi and several other volunteers, Ibn Saud stealthily made his way to a part of the city wall which he knew they could easily scale unobserved with the help of grappling irons. The wall he chose was adjacent to the house of a man who had served Abdul Rahman, Ibn Saud's father, some years before when the Al Saud had still ruled in Riyadh. When the wife of this man realized that the son of Abdul Rahman had come to reclaim his birthright, she vouchsafed some useful information about Ajlan, the Amir of Riyadh, the man Ibn Saud would have to oust.

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Al-Masmak historical fortress in Riyadh