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Saudis answer speculation with video of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia released video said to be shot on Tuesday that showed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting, ami...

Posted: May 31, 2018 1:13 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 1:13 PM

Saudi Arabia released video said to be shot on Tuesday that showed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting, amid recent speculation about his whereabouts.

The kingdom provided CNN with video that it said showed the crown prince chairing a Council of Economic Affairs and Development meeting in Jeddah on May 29. State-run television aired video of the same meeting.

CNN is unable to verify when the video was shot.

The video was released amid speculation about the Crown Prince's well-being following reports of gunfire near the royal palaces in Riyadh on April 21.

State-run SPA media said at the time that an unauthorized, recreational drone flew over the area, prompting security personnel to deal with the situation in an unspecified manner. Social media videos seemed to show an attempt at shooting down the drone.

The royal palaces of Riyadh are known for their high security.

There were no casualties, Reuters reported, citing a senior Saudi official. But the incident led to speculation online about a possible coup attempt and questions about the whereabouts of King Salman and the Crown Prince.

Kayhan, a conservative Iranian newspaper closely aligned with the Iranian regime, claimed it had seen a report by an unnamed Arab intelligence service that speculated about the fate of the Crown Prince. Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter regional rivals.

The anonymous blogger Mujtahidd, who has over 2 million followers on Twitter and has in the past predicted some major stories from the Saudi court, tweeted a day after the April 21 incident that the palace had been attacked by armed vehicles.

CNN could not independently verify the claims.

Since the April 21 incident, the kingdom has released various stills showing the crown prince carrying out official duties. The images contain no timestamp or marker to indicate when they were taken.

The crown prince, known casually as "MBS," is spearheading an ambitious plan to reform and transform the Saudi economy by 2030.

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