Attempted coup in Saudi Arabia may be taking place now

Most major news sites are saying that palace guards shot down a drone over the general area of the King’s residence. Please see comments under this post for links from the Daily Mail, Reuters, the NYT and others.

THIS POST WILL BE ADDED TO AND UPDATED

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8 Replies to “Attempted coup in Saudi Arabia may be taking place now”

  1. Saudi security shoots down recreational drone near royal palace (reuters, Apr 21, 2018)
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-security/saudi-security-shoots-down-recreational-drone-near-royal-palace-idUSKBN1HS0PZ?il=0

    “Saudi Arabian security forces said they had shot down a recreational drone in the capital on Saturday after online videos showing gunfire in a neighborhood where royal palaces are located sparked fears of possible political unrest.

    The Riyadh police spokesman, quoted by the official Saudi News Agency (SPA), said a security screening point noticed the flying of a small unauthorized recreational drone at 7:50 p.m. local time (1650 GMT), leading security forces to deal with it according to their orders and instructions.

    There were no casualties, and King Salman was not at his palace at the time, a senior Saudi official told Reuters.

    “The king was at his farm in Diriya,” the official said, naming another area of the capital.

    Amateur footage circulating earlier on social media showed loud gunfire that lasted for at least 30 seconds, leading to speculation online about a possible coup attempt in the world’s top oil exporter and questions about the whereabouts of the king and crown prince.

    One video showed two police cars parked in the middle of a dark street. Reuters was unable to independently verify the videos’ authenticity.

    Asked about the footage, the official said the drone had been shot down, and added that the government would introduce regulations for the use of recreational drones.

    Saudi Arabia has witnessed a series of radical political changes over the past year under the king’s son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has spearheaded reforms to transform the economy, open the country culturally, and impose a more tolerant form of Islam in the deeply conservative kingdom.

    The 32-year-old leader ousted his older cousin as crown prince last summer in a palace coup and then jailed dozens of top businessmen and senior royals, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and National Guard head Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, in an anti-corruption sweep.

    Most of the detainees have been released after reaching settlements with the government.

    Space for criticism has also narrowed in recent months following the arrests of prominent clerics and activists in an apparent bid to silence dissent.

    Those moves have helped Prince Mohammed consolidate his position in a country where power had been shared among senior princes for decades and religious figures exercised significant influence on policy.

    But they have also fueled speculation about a possible backlash against the crown prince, who remains popular with Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning youth population.

    Prince Mohammed returned earlier this month from a foreign tour that included the United States where he sought investments and support to curb Iranian influence in the region.

    Riyadh and Tehran are locked in a decades-long struggle for supremacy that is being waged in several countries, including Yemen.

    Iran-aligned Houthi fighters there have occasionally dispatched drones across Saudi Arabia’s southern border, but there was no apparent connection between that conflict and Saturday’s incident in Riyadh.”

  2. DAILY MAIL – Fears of a coup are sparked in Saudi Arabia after heavy gunfire erupts near the Royal Palace – but officials claim it was only guards shooting down a drone that flew too close to the King Salman’s residence

    Numerous videos have been published online of heavy gunfire from Rihayd
    Mohammed Bin Salman is thought to have been evacuated to nearby bunker
    It is unclear whether there have been any injuries or causalities so far

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5642379/Drone-shot-outside-Saudi-Arabia-palace-sparks-coup-fears.html
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    NYT – Saudi Arabia Says Toy Drone Shot Down in Capital Riyadh

    Saudi security forces shot down a small recreational drone flying in an unauthorized space in the capital Riyadh on Saturday, according to the kingdom’s state news agency.

    The Saudis put out the statement from the Riyadh police after a flurry of unconfirmed rumors spread on social media of clashes and gunfire near the royal palace and a possible coup.

    The report said a remote-controlled toy aircraft was flown into a security cordon in the Khuzama neighborhood of the city around 7:50 p.m. The report gave no information about who had been controlling the drone and said police were investigating the incident.

    Houthi rebels in Yemen have used armed drones in attempts to target the Saudi capital before and have also fired ballistic missiles into the country. The Saudis are at the forefront of a coalition that has been waging a war in Yemen against the Houthis, claiming they are backed by its regional rival Iran.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/21/world/saudi-drone-riyadh.html

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    RT- Drone triggers gunfire outside royal palace in Riyadh

    A number of videos have emerged online, showing heavy gunfire in the vicinity of the royal palace in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. The disturbance was caused by a small drone, which entered an off-limits zone, the police said.
    The shooting incident occurred late on Saturday, triggering confusion on social media. While one of the initial reports suggested that the shooting erupted when the palace guards targeted a rogue drone which came too close to the king’s residence, some feared a terrorist attack or even an unfolding “coup.”

    Footage purportedly taken at the scene shows military or emergency vehicles with their lights flashing. Multiple gunshots can be heard in the background. Saudi police later confirmed that the shooting was caused by a small commercial drone that entered an off-limits zone, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

    An investigation into the identity of the drone’s operator and motive has been launched.

    https://www.rt.com/news/424786-gunfire-royal-palace-riyadh/
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