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Saudi releases photo of crown prince

Published: May 23, 2018 20:20:19 | Updated: May 24, 2018 13:57:08


The Saudi Royal family has released a photograph of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman amid speculation he has been assassinated. 

Salman had not been seen since April 21 when Iranian media reported that there had been a coup attempt.   

However, rumours that an armed uprising was underway at a Saudi royal palace were dismissed at the time as a drone near the gates being shot down.

Iranian media speculated that Prince Salman had been arrested or that he was even killed during the 'coup'.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are fierce rivals in the Middle East with both countries vying for influence in the region, including in Lebanon and Yemen.

Iran's Kayhan newspaper has claimed: 'At least two bullets have hit bin Salman in April 21 clashes in Riyadh and it is even possible that he is dead.'

The paper speculated about why Salman was not pictured when new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid his first visit to Saudi Arabia Riyadh in late April -  but King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were pictured.

'There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the absence of nearly 30 days of Muhammad bin Sulman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is due to an incident which is being hidden from the public,' Kayhan claimed.

But now the prince's press spokesman has tweeted pictures of him chairing a meeting of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, reports Daily Mail.

Salman is seeking to reform Saudi Arabia and has introduced measures to loosen the country's strict gender segregation and crackdown on corruption.

He has also recently signalled a softening of the Saudi attitude to Israel saying it has a 'right' to a homeland in comments that go further than any other Arab leader.

Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years.

Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat and the United States as their key ally, and both see danger from armed Islamist extremists.

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