The Saudi prince is one of the wealthiest men in the world, so the cost of the cars was not an issue. However his offer to reward air force pilots with a free Bentley in return for their participation in the bombing of Yemen was criticized on Twitter, according to RT. The Saudis had carried out an operation known as Decisive Storm against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Tweet later deleted without explanation
“I congratulate our wise leaders on the victory of Operation Decisive Storm and the beginning of Operation Restoring Hope,” read the tweet. An official announcement had previously specified the end of the bombing campaign in war-torn Yemen.
“To recognize the one hundred participating Saudi pilots I am pleased to present them with 100 Bentley cars,” he said. Screenshots of the message were re-posted on the social network after the original message was apparently deleted without explanation.
Unconfirmed reports from Saudi Arabia claim that the prince’s Twitter account was hacked. Unsurprisingly the unusual offer attracted its fair share of attention online, and the majority of people took to tweeting about the human cost of the operation.
Yemen bombings: Both operation and tweet roundly criticized
The World Health Organization estimates that at least 944 people were killed and 3,487 wounded in Operation Decisive Storm, and other Twitter users were quick to point out that despite his offer to provide 100 luxury sports cars to Saudi pilots, the prince had failed to provide a single emergency vehicle to Yemen for use during the air strikes.
The Saudi government seems happy enough with the outcome of the strikes, and a statement carried by official news agency SPA claimed that: “Operation Decisive Storm has achieved its goals…[including] removing the threat to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, especially in terms of heavy weapons.”
The Saudis had been worried by the progress of Houthi rebels, who had seized control of large areas of Yemen. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia after rebel forces took the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. It is thought that the Houthi rebels are backed by Iran, and the Sunni Saudis could not live with an aggressive Shia-controlled state to its South.