Saudi deputy governor of Asir province killed in helicopter crash

A number of others also died in the crash

Mostafa Hashem
Riyadh
Sunday 05 November 2017 22:11
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The prince was deputy governor of Asir province
The prince was deputy governor of Asir province

The deputy governor of Saudi Arabia's southern Asir province and several colleagues were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported.

Local newspaper Okaz reported the helicopter containing Prince Mansour bin Muqrin. went down while the officials were taking a tour of an area near the coast in Asir, which borders Yemen.

The reports did not elaborate on the cause of the crash.

The Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, based in Dubai, reported that the crash killed Prince Mansour bin Muqrin and seven others.

Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence service director and a one-time crown prince of the kingdom. Prince Muqrin was removed as crown prince in April 2015 by his half brother King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in favor of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counterterrorism czar and interior minister.

But in June, King Salman also ousted Prince Mohammed in favor of installing his 32-year-old son, the now-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as first in line to the throne.

The crash comes as a Saudi-led coalition accused Yemen's Houthi militia of a “dangerous escalation,” with Saudi air defence forces having intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the group towards the capital Riyadh the day previously.

“The Houthis' dangerous escalation came because of Iranian support,” said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki in a press conference also televised by Ekhbariya.

Rocket launch vehicles used to fire the missile were made in Iran, he said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse arch-foe Iran of supplying missiles and other weapons to the Houthis, saying the arms were not present in Yemen before the conflict began in 2015.

The missile was brought down near King Khaled Airport on the northern outskirts of the city on Saturday night and did not cause any casualties.

The claim echoed accusations earlier that day by U.S. President Donald Trump, who described the missile as “a shot just taken by Iran” against Saudi Arabia.

Iran denies sending missiles and financial support to the Houthis, blaming the conflict on Riyadh. The head of its Revolutionary Guards dismissed Trump's comments as slander.

Colonel Maliki also said the coalition would soon begin offering a financial reward for information that could lead to the capture of 40 Houthi leaders yet to be named.

France's foreign minister said on Sunday the missile strike showed there was a danger of wider ballistic proliferation across the region.

Reuters

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