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Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border

06 November 2017

The heir to the Saudi Arabian throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has tightened his grip on power by detaining dozens of ministers and 11 princes.

Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb did not acknowledge the arrests or name any suspects, but The Associated Press has reported that billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and other senior royals, military officers, businessmen and ex-ministers have been detained and are being held in five-star hotels across the capital, Riyadh.

The kingdom's top council of clerics was quick to throw its support behind the royal decree, tweeting shortly after the announcement: "Fighting corruption is an obligation in Islamic sharia [law], a requirement of national interest, and combating it is just as important as the fight against terrorism".

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah: The former head of the Saudi National Guard, which will now be headed by Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf al-Muqrin, was the most favoured son of the late King Abdullah.

"The accounts and balances of those detained will be revealed and frozen", the kingdom's information ministry said in a statement, according to Agence France Presse.

Saudi officials described Saturday's arrests as the result of an investigation by a newly created anti-corruption committee.

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The battle has been ferocious, with heavy Russian air strikes and Syrian artillery fire leaving much of the city in ruins. Syrian forces entered Deir Ezzor city in September, breaking an ISIS siege of almost three years.

The royal purge was foreshadowed by Saturday's evacuation of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, where the detainees are now housed, according to The New York Times.

Prince Alwaleed increased his stake in Citigroup at the height of the global financial crisis a decade ago and he has held on to the stake, saying as recently as last month that he was very happy with the investment.

This comes in the light of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being named as the head of a new anti-corruption committee, which is conducting probes into the disastrous floods of 2009 that wreaked havoc in Jeddah.

President Donald Trump's administration has cheered Crown Price Mohammed's rise while touting the young royal as a forward-thinking economic and social reformer.

A Saudi prince was killed on Sunday when a helicopter with several officials on board crashed near the kingdom´s southern border with war-torn Yemen, state television said.

Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border