Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was allegedly hit by two bullets during the April 21 attack on the royal palace in Riyadh and may actually be dead as he has not appeared in public since the incident, Kayhan newspaper reports citing "a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state."
"Bin Salman was a man who almost often appeared before the media but his 27-day absence since the gunfire in Riyadh has raised questions about his health," the Fars news agency remarks.
On April 21 several media agencies reported heavy gunfire emanating from the Saudi royal palace in Riyadh, prompting speculations about a possible coup attempt taking place. The Saudi authorities however claimed that the incident merely involved palace security guards firing upon a drone which allegedly was flying too close to the premises. A number of local media outlets however reported that King Salman himself was evacuated to a nearby military installation during the shooting, with Saudi analyst Ali al-Ahmed naming the King Khaled base as the monarch’s destination.
However, a week after the coup speculations, the Crown Prince, along with Saudi King Salman, was seen at the opening ceremony of a huge entertainment resort Qiddiya – an ambitious multi-billion dollar project that is expected to include a Six Flags theme park, water parks, motor sports, cultural events and vacation homes.
Seen later. Like here— Ido (@Bahebbaq) 17 мая 2018 г.
Qiddiya opening seremony April 28 pic.twitter.com/fRZjHl6c59
This is not true here are pictures of Crown Prince in the opening of Qiddiya project which is after the Drone that got in the restricted area and security shut it down pic.twitter.com/JYjMaCQy3g— Az0Z ❉ (@iazoozdoon1) 17 мая 2018 г.
On May 18, the Director of the Private Office of the Crown Prince, Bader al-Asaker, tweeted a group picture of Prince bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, King of Bahrain bin Isa and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“A friendly meeting between the two brothers was hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a few days ago,” he wrote in a tweet, although Asaker did not specify the date of the image.
لقاءٌ وديٌّ يستمر بين الأشقاء..— بدر العساكر B.Asaker (@Badermasaker) 17 мая 2018 г.
كان في ضيافة فخامة الرئيس المصري عبدالفتاح السيسي قبل أيام. pic.twitter.com/Va3f1b4XVc
The two major powers in the Middle East – Iran and Saudi Arabia – have been longtime rivals for dominance in the region, supporting opposite sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria. The relations between Riyadh and Tehran have further deteriorated following the Yemeni Houthi rebels’ missile launches targeting the kingdom, with the latter blaming the Islamic Republic for providing the insurgents with weapons. Iranian authorities have consistently denied the allegations.
In a March interview with the Wall Street Journal, the Crown Prince warned of a possible war with Iran in 10-15 years, calling on the international community to impose tougher sanctions against Tehran to avoid a military confrontation.