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Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border

06 November 2017

Both are sons of the late King Abdullah, who ruled before his half-brother King Salman.

It comes after future the Saudi king, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tightened his grip on power in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Along with the 11 princes, three ministers were removed from their positions: Economy and Planning Minister Adel bin Mohammed Faqih, National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Naval Forces Commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, reports CNN.

Mansour bin Muqrin, a Saudi prince, reportedly died in a helicopter crash near the Saudi border with Yemen, Al Arabiya TV reported.

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With the two princes now sidelined, control of the kingdom's security apparatuses is now largely centralised under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defence minister.

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 Ritz Carlton hotel chain says it is "evaluating the situation" at its hotel in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, after reports it is being used to house some of those detained in a wave of arrests of princes and former government officials. Eleven princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers were detained as part of a crackdown on corruption. Alwaleed also owns a roughly 5% stake in Twitter and substantial undisclosed stakes in Apple and Euro Disney.

Prince Alwaleed's father was the kingdom's finance minister during the 1960s.

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"People will be looking at any kind of global holdings of the people who have been arrested, to see what will be the impact".

Meanwhile, the kingdom's top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption - essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.

In addition to locking down bank accounts, the Saudi government said it will seize any property linked to corruption charges.

He said the Saudi Arabian leadership is "keen to protect public money and eradicate corruption, which hampers the economy and society", adding the decree was a "clear message" that no one can escape justice if they are proven to be involved in corruption.

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Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border