Alwaght- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has gone missing since last month when there was heavy gunfire and explosions outside the royal palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
There has been speculation that the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia might have been killed or injured during the April 21 attempted coup. Official reports say the gunfire was occurred when the palace guards targeted a small drone which came too close to Salman's residence.
No new photo or video of bin Salman has been released by Saudi state media since that incident, which happened just after the young heir to the throne wrapped up a whirlwind global tour meant to advertise himself as the new power in the kingdom.
Bin Salman was not even seen on camera when new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid his maiden visit to Riyadh in late April.
Although reports said the crown prince had hosted a working dinner with the top American diplomat, only images of Pompeo’s meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were published.
The long disappearance has raised speculation about the fate of the crown prince.
Bin Salman’s meteoric rise to power under his father’s patronage and jumping the queue to kingship by ousting his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef, with the approval of King Salman, has given rise to strife and intense infighting within the Al Saud clan.
November last year 11 Saudi princes, including the country’s most prominent businessman, Alwaleed Bin Talal, were arrested. Four government ministers and dozens of former ministers were also detained. The arrests were ostensibly part of an alleged anti-corruption crackdown but are widely seen as a move by Bin Salman to eliminate potential rivals and consolidate his power.