Saudi Arabian heir tightens his grip on power

Saudi King issues royal orders

Saudi Arabia arrests 11 princes, including billionaire, in corruption crackdown

His investment firm Kingdom Holding - whose share price plunged 10 per cent on Sunday in response to news of his detention - recently bought about half of a 31.1 per cent stake in Saudi lender Banque Saudi Fransi from France's Credit Agricole.

It said the helicopter had several officials on board, and did not reveal the cause of the crash.

The AFP news agency also confirmed the crash.

The missile attack was the first aimed by the Shiite rebels at the heart of the Saudi capital, underscoring the growing threat posed by the raging conflict in Yemen.

Saudi authorities arrested at least 11 princes, several current ministers and dozens of former ministers in a sweeping move reportedly created to consolidate power for the son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

The attack highlighted how the war in Yemen is increasingly spilling across the border since a Saudi-led coalition began its military intervention there in 2015.

The arrest of Alwaleed and other royals further clears a path to power for the rising crown prince, who in June ousted his elder cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as interior minister and heir to the Saudi throne.

Dozens of Saudi government officials and businessmen have been detained in an anti-corruption crackdown, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom's most prominent tycoons. Earlier this year, the king removed Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as head of the interior ministry, placing him under house arrest and extending the crown prince's influence over the interior ministry's troops, which act as a second armed force.

Saudi Arabia announced Sunday it will freeze the bank accounts of a billionaire prince and other high-profile members of the royal family who were arrested on corruption charges over the weekend. He previously served as the mayor of Jeddah city.

Those detained included a number of government officials including Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh province, Khalid Al Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court and Ibrahim Al Assaf, former finance minister, according list published by Reuters.

The attorney general said Sunday the newly-formed anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is conducting investigations to ensure transparency and good governance.

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