By Courtney Trenwith
Online death threats have emerged against the Saudi pilots involved in US-led strike against IS in Syria
Saudi pilots involved in air strikes in Syria this week have reportedly received online death threats after the state media agency published a photo of them.
One Twitter user said the air force men were “wanted by IS” while another said their throats “will sooner or later be slit”, AFP reported.
A broader threat came from a Twitter post which called for the killing of police as well as military men.
The photo showing the men – including a son of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, according to Saudi newspapers – dressed in the green Saudi defence uniform, smiling in front of a helicopter was published on Wednesday by the Saudi Press Agency.
The SPA said the men had been involved in Tuesday’s US-led operation in Syria, which was carried out with the support of Arab allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
Dozens of Islamic State group (IS) and Al Qaeda militants were reported killed in the coalition air raids.
However, the SPA statement carried with the photo said the men returned to the kingdom safely.
“The Saudi pilots returned safe and sound Tuesday morning after having accomplished their duty in carrying out successful and effective strikes against the Islamic State extremist organisation in Syria,” SPA said.
SPA quoted Crown Prince Salman as saying he was “proud of the professionalism and bravery” of the Saudi air force men.
“My sons, the pilots, fulfilled their obligation toward their religion, their h’omeland and their king,” he said.