Saudi Arabia restricts drone operations following palace incident

Saudi Arabia orders drone enthusiasts to obtain fly permits after major shooting incident at palace

Beawiharta Beawiharta Reuters

"Ongoing violence in the capital Riyadh and The_Fleeing_of_King_Salman raises concern #Gunfire_in_Al-Khuzami-neighborhood", Masarir tweeted alongside a video of what appeared to be scenes of unrest.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a toy plane or drone had been shot down after getting too close to the palace.

However, despite the ban, remote-controlled drones are still being imported and operated in the kingdom, due to a loose enforcement of the law.

The personnel at the security point dealt with it according to the instructions in this regard.

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In the wake of the very serious incident, the Ministry of the Interior reiterated that the use of drones is only allowed within special "permitted sites", and only after obtaining a license.

The authorities have begun an inquiry into the circumstances of the drone flight, the Saudi Press Agency said.

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On Saturday, videos posted online purported to show Saudi security forces shooting down the drone near King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace, with heavy gunfire.

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However, a Saudi official told Reuters that the king apparently was not in the palace during this incident.

The 32-year old prince has also overseen a major military shake-up and royal purge as he consolidates power much beyond wielded by previous rulers.

The attacker, who was identified by the interior ministry as Mansour al-Amri, a 28-year-old Saudi national, was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and three Molotov cocktails.

Saudi Arabia is also embroiled in a long running conflict in its southern neighbour Yemen, dubbed by the United Nations as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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