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Drone shot down near palace of Saudi King

Riyadh – Saudi forces shot down a drone that was dangerously near the palace of the King of Saudi Arabia. The incident that happened at 7:50 pm local time has sent ripples across the world. Major media outlets had estimated the incident to be an attack on the Saudi palace. But on Sunday, Saudi agencies clarified the incident to have happened due to misapprehension. Saudi agencies informed that the drone posed no threat to the Saudi King and in fact he was not present in the palace during the incident.

Police officials of Saudi capital Riyadh called the said drone to be unauthorized; they informed that it was fired upon and shot down. The police officials have disclosed that during the incident the Saudi King Salman was at his farmhouse in Diriyah and not in the Riyadh Royal Palace. But it appears that the Saudi agencies are trying to evade questions seeking more information about the drone. Importantly, all the major media agencies of the world had released the footage of the firing that took place on Saturday night in the royal palace complex of King Salman, reporting it to be an attack.

The media outlets had also reported that King Salman was shifted out of the palace to some other location to ensure his safety. But these reports have not been authenticated, said the media agencies. Though the discussions about the incident have died down after a clarification from Saudi agencies, the mystery surrounding it seems to have increased. It was in the October last year that a person named ‘Mansour al-Amri’ had attack the palace in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. The Saudi guards could neutralize him only after he had succeeded in killing two guards and injuring two other people.

As a result the concerns about the security of Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad have come under spotlight. Media agencies were seen quoting the Jeddah palace attack as they reported about the incident of drone intrusion in the palace on King Salman in Riyadh. In addition to this and against the backdrop of the drone intrusion, the likelihood of a possible backlash is being expressed once again against the program of revolutionary reforms undertaken by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Abolishing some of the restrictions on the movement of women in Saudi Arabia, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad had announced to give driving licenses to them. The announcement to allow women entry into sports stadium too was made. Saudi has also seen opening of new cinema houses. International media is abuzz with talks that all these major changes that Saudi is undergoing would not go down well with its hardliners and radicals. These social reforms were preceded by an anti-corruption drive under which various princes and high-ranking officials of Saudi Arabia were apprehended. Some of the princes and the officials were released only after they deposited 70% of their wealth in the royal coffers. Analysts claim that the aggressive stance taken by Crown Prince Mohammad with the anti-corruption drive has disturbed the power balance in Saudi Arabia which may lead to major upheavals in the kingdom. In the view of these, Saturday’s incident is looked upon seriously.

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