Photo Credit: US State Department
US Secretary of State meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud in Jeddah, July 2017

Eleven princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers were arrested Saturday hours after a new Saudi anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh was formed by royal decree, according to the BBC.

There is no information on who specifically was detained. Media reports said the Crown Prince is working towards a reform program in the country.


The heads of the Saudi National Guard and the Navy were also replaced. National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and Saudi Navy Commander Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan both were sacked by King Salman, according to the report by SPA.

The committee is authorized to issue arrest warrants and travel bans, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Saturday. According to the BBC, there was no official explanation for the dismissals.

Within hours of the dismissals, the Saudi military said it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh.

A loud explosion was heard near Riyadh airport Saturday evening, with shrapnel falling in the area of the airport moments later, the SPA reported. Witnesses said parts of the missile landed in the airport’s car park, according to Al Arabiya.

The Houthi-linked Saba News outlet in Yemen said the rebels took responsibility for the firing a Burkan H2 missile at King Khalid International Airport.

Saudi Arabia is leading an international coalition supporting the recognized Yemen government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in a campaign to defeat the Houthis.

The Houthi rebels are backed by Iran.

Also on Saturday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Sa’ad Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation from his nation’s government.

Hariri, 47, appeared on the official Al-Arabiya news network during a trip to Saudi Arabia to make the announcement, saying his life was in danger.

He warned that Iran’s presence in the region causes “discord and destruction.”

Saudi Arabia is a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation. Hariri is also a Sunni Muslim. Iran is a predominantly Shi’ite Muslim nation, intent on creating a Shi’ite land corridor from Tehran, through Iraq and Syria, all the way to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, with a permanent military presence throughout.

Israel has warned the United Nations, and Russia — Syria’s ally — that it will not tolerate any Iranian presence on its border.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.