Billionaire Saudi Prince Killed In Helicopter Crash After Crown Prince Ordered His Arrest

A Saudi prince died in a helicopter crash near the Yemeni border Sunday afternoon, one day after the kingdom’s young crown prince ordered a shocking purge of princes and some of the country’s most influential leaders.
Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin was killed in the crash “while performing an inspection in remote parts of the governorate.” 
A spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy in Washington told NBC News.

The Saudi-owned, Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiya reported seven other people also died in the crash. Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence director and a one-time crown prince of the kingdom.

Hours after the fatal crash, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab nations closed Yemen’s land, sea and air ports. Saudi officials said they had intercepted a missile near Riyadh’s airport on Saturday that was fired from war-torn Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country. The coalition blamed the launch on Iran and warned it could be “considered as an act of war.”

The day before the helicopter crash, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the arrest of 11 of his royal cousins, as well as nearly 40 powerful military officers, businessmen, government ministers – some of them potential rivals. No connection has been drawn between the events.

On Saturday, Prince Mohammed, 32, arrested billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men, with major holdings in Western firms, as well as two of late King Abdullah’s sons.

The crown prince said the mass roundup is part of a larger crackdown on corruption targeting senior royals and their business associates, who have long been seen as operating above the law.

“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable.”