MBS Not Seen in Public since Riyadh Gunfire
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s public disappearance for three weeks, since heavy shooting and gunfire bursts in Riyadh, has raised speculation about the fate of the media enthusiast prince.
Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has not been seen in public after reports of heavy gunfire in Riyadh’s al-Khozama neighborhood, where a palace belonging to King Salman, the Saudi monarch, is located.
The surprising absence of bin Salman from the media spotlight despite his overt enthusiasm has raised speculation that the April shooting may have occurred during a coup attempt by some Saudi princes.
The Saudi government claims that the heavy gunfire was only an operation to shoot down a recreational drone. “It was a small remote-controlled toy airplane that came into restricted airspace and was immediately shot down,” a Saudi official had announced after the incident.
Meanwhile, Saudi activists in the social media say the shooting had nothing to do with a drone, but it was an attack from vehicles carrying heavy machine guns and shooting randomly.
Some sources affiliated with Saudi opposition groups also suggest that the April shooting has frightened bin Salman, forcing him to ban the royal family members and top officials from leaving the country for fear that his cousin and former crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, would try to topple him.
The official Saudi websites have not released any new photo of bin Salman for the past three weeks. The latest stories covering news of MBS’s meetings and visits dates back to April 24.
He is even absent in the photo of a meeting of Saudi Arabia’s council of ministers, released on May 15.