Prince Alaweed bin Talal – a billionaire Saudi prince – has promised to give 100 fighter pilots a Bentley each, to congratulate them for an air strike that killed almost 1000 people.
The prince has a 300m stake in one of Saudi Arabia’s largest companies, and is the grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founder Ibn Saud – one of the richest men in the world. Ibn Saud has a fortune estimated at around $23 billion and investments in Apple, Time Warner and Citigroup.
Prince Alaweed bin Talal tweeted, before later deleting it:
I congratulate our wise leaders on the victory of Operation Decisive Storm and the beginning of Operation Restoring Hope.
To recognise the one hundred participating Saudi pilots I am pleased to present them with 100 Bentley cars.
Quite naturally, the Prince’s tweet was met with anger, and not only from Yemenis who have had their homes destroyed and families killed. During the four weeks of bombing at least 944 people have been killed, and 3,487 wounded.
The US backed Campaign was aimed at crushing the advances by the Shiite Houthi rebels, who are allied with Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival, Iran. The Saudi coalition now believe the Houthi rebels are no longer a danger and declared, the campaign of air strikes, known as Operation Decisive Storm, would cease at midnight (9pm GMT) on Tuesday.
The focus is now on rebuilding the country, while denying the rebels a foothold and protecting civilians, as well as supporting relief efforts.
Bin Talal has a habit of rewarding people with Bentleys – last year he gave 25 away to the players and staff of Nasr football club, who won the Saudi football league.