THE SAUDI monarchy’s crackdown on opponents of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman deepened yesterday, with 201 people now under arrest.
Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said 208 people had been called in for questioning since Saturday evening, and that seven people were released without charge, leaving 201 people still in custody.
Among those whose arrest the 32-year-old crown prince ordered on Saturday, alleging corruption, are 11 of his princely cousins.
Mr Mojeb claimed yesterday that the sums involved total more than $100 billion (£75bn) over several decades. He confirmed that bank accounts — reportedly 1,700 — had been frozen.
Reuters alleged on Wednesday that the frozen accounts included that of former crown prince and interior minister Mohammed bin Nayef, who was removed in favour of King Salman’s son in June.
The crackdown coincided with Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri fleeing to Riyadh to announce his resignation from his party’s unity government with Hezbollah — an ally of Saudi Arabia’s rival Iran.
Yesterday, Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc warned Saudi Arabia to stay out of Lebanon’s affairs, saying that Mr Hariri’s flight had “raised many questions.”
Last Saturday, Yemen’s Republican Guard claimed to have hit Riyadh airport with an indigenously made Volcano H-2 rocket.
French President Emmanuel Macron, on a state visit to the neighbouring United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday, said he would fly on to Riyadh to meet Mohammed bin Salman.
Mr Macron, whose country is the UAE’s main supplier of arms for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, repeated unproven Saudi claims that the missile was Iranian-made.
The United Nations warned again yesterday that the Saudi blockade of all Yemen’s ports could condemn millions of people to “starvation and death.”