Subscribe Free
in Defence / People

Mystery surrounds death of Saudi chief of staff

Posted 25 June 2015 · Add Comment

Arabian Aerospace defence editor Jon Lake reports that there is mystery surrounding the death of the Saudi Arabian Chief of Air Staff, Lt. General Mohammad Bin Ahmad Al-Shaalan, the Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).

Official reports last week suggested that Al-Shaalan had died in a London hospital on June 10 following a heart attack “during a business trip outside the Kingdom
The statement said he was being replaced by his deputy, Major-General Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi, although the prestigious Lebanon-based Tactical Report reported that Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, was “showing no enthusiasm” to appoint Al-Ghamdi to the role.
However, anonymous and unverified Yemeni sources say that Lt General Shaalan had actually been killed in the Yemeni army and Ansarullah (Shia Houthi forces) missile attacks against Khamis Mushait on 6 June, and these reports were widely repeated in the Press – especially in pro-Iranian news outlets.

This attack has also been the subject of very different reports. Saudi social media described a missile attack at 0245 local, which left air raid warnings blaring across the city. Official Saudi sources described an attack by a single ‘Scud’ missile that was successfully intercepted by two Patriot missiles, before coalition forces destroyed the rocket launcher whose location was identified south of Saada in Yemen. Yemeni sources described an attack by a barrage of 15 missiles – two or three of which were intercepted by US (rather than Saudi) Patriots – and which hit aircraft hangars and senior officers’ accommodation before dawn, at about 0300 am.

Whatever the cause of his death, General Al-Shalaan had not been in post long – having been appointed by royal decree on 14 May 2014 to replace Lieutenant General Fayyadh bin Hamed bin Ragad Al-Ruwaili, who was promoted to become Deputy Chief of the Saudi General Staff. General Al-Ruwaili also served for only a year as RSAF Commander, replacing Lieutenant General Mohamed bin Abdullah Al-Ayesh, who was ordered into retirement by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in May 2013. This was interpreted as a dismissal in some quarters, though other sources suggested that Al-Ayesh was then suffering from terminal cancer.
He made something of a recovery – becoming assistant defense minister in May 2014.


Other Stories
Latest News

EgyptAir to start operations between Cairo and Doha

After Egypt’s decision to reopen its airspace to Qatar, EgyptAir will commence a daily flight between Cairo and Doha from January 18.

Children fly for free with Etihad Airways

Adults who book their next flight to Abu Dhabi or Dubai with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, can take their children for free.

Emirates Airlines adds two more flights into Durban

Emirates Airline will add two more flights into Durban from February 1 which means that the airline will now fly a daily scheduled air service between Durban and Dubai.

Is this the ‘new norm’ for events?

The Dubai HeliShow is set to go ahead in January in both physical and 3D virtual format.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi adds Tel Aviv to its route network

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has added Tel Aviv to its network, launching on February 12.

Etihad Airways awarded diamond status in the APEX Health Safety

Etihad Airways has been awarded the Diamond status in the inaugural ‘APEX Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying’ audit, for efforts in ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation.

NAVDEX 2021 SK26221
See us at
Aviation MENA 2021World Defence Show 2022Aviation Africa 2021 BTNNIDEX 2021 BT26221CONNECT BT0610090421