Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s purge push in Saudi Arabia took another curious turn after new reports coming out of the region suggested that the helicopter crash that killed Prince bin Muqrin was not a crash, but an assassination attempt, a successful one.
A Saudi warplane shot down the helicopter that Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and his seven other senior aides took that day, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The helicopter had crashed near the border with Yemen. The newspaper, however, did not disclose its source of information. Prince Muqrin was the son of Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the powerful former Saudi intelligence chief.
Bin Muqrin had apparently sent a letter to over a thousand princes, asking them to not support Mohammed bin Salman’s succession to the throne, Middle East Monitor quoted the New Khaleez as reporting.
The attack sends a clear message to others within the royal family that Bin Salman will stop at nothing to silence his critics and those who oppose him”, the report claimed.
INCIDENT HAPPENED AFTER ARRESTS OF SAUDI PRINCES
The incident followed the sudden arrests of senior Saudi princes in what is being called a purge and a crackdown on corruption. Those arrested included Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest investors. Nearly a 100 ministers and princes are now imprisoned at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, converted into a temporary prison.
Soon after the arrests, the news of the death of another prince shocked the world. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, the youngest son of late king Fahd, apparently died in a firefight resisting arrest.
While multiple sources confirmed the death, the Saudi Information Ministry issued a denial. There’s no clarity on whether the prince is injured and alive or killed as various reports claimed.
The news of another prince Prince Turki bin Mohamed bin Fahd having fled the country continues to trickle in. Earlier, reports suggested that he may have sought asylum from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s avowed rival in the Middle East. That, however, could not be independently confirmed.
The Saudi ruling family got Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri, then on a visit to Riyadh, to resign from his position and accuse Iran of meddling in Lebanon’s affairs, putting the arch-rivals face to face again. Hariri said he might have been assassinated if he had stayed on in Beirut by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.