Saudi prince Mansour bin Moqren killed in helicopter crash amid purge

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24. Photo: Reuters

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.

The news channel Al-Ekhbariya announced the death of Prince Mansour bin Moqren, the deputy governor of Asir province and son of a former crown prince.

It did not reveal the cause of the crash or the fate of the other officials aboard the aircraft.

News of the crash comes as Saudi Arabia pursues a sweeping purge of the kingdom’s upper ranks, with dozens of princes, ministers and a billionaire tycoon arrested as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cements his hold on power.

ALSO READSaudi purge: Senior royal ousted; 11 princes detained in corruption probe

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defence to the economy, Prince Mohammed is widely seen to be stamping out traces of internal dissent before a formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.

The crash also comes after Saudi Arabia on Saturday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile near Riyadh’s international airport after it was fired from Yemen in an escalation of the kingdom’s war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

The missile attack was the first aimed by the Shiite rebels at the heart of the Saudi capital, underscoring the growing threat posed by the raging conflict in Yemen.

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