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Manama A Kuwaiti prince has been fatally shot allegedly by his uncle, reports have said.

In a brief statement, the Kuwaiti ruler's court late Thursday evening said that it was "mourning the demise of Shaikh Basel Salem Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, who passed away at the age of 52."

The ruler's court said that Shaikh Basel will be buried on Sunday at 9am.

No statement was issued by the interior ministry about the death, but reports said that Shaikh Basel was allegedly shot several times by an uncle on Thursday evening at his weekly diwaniya after the two had an argument over cars.

Sitting together

According to one version, the two princes were sitting in the diwaniya together with other people, when the alleged killer told his nephew that he wanted to speak with him in private.

The two princes left the main room and, seconds later, guests heard shots. Upon entering the room, they found Shaikh Basel wounded and promptly took him to the hospital where he was declared dead.

Medical staff said that the prince had been shot several times at close range, according to reports. The police arrested the alleged killer and started an investigation into the case.

Shaikh Basel is the grandson of Kuwait's 12th Emir, Shaikh Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah who ruled from November 24, 1965 until December 31, 1977, and the eldest son of Shaikh Salem Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah and Shaikha Badriya Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah.

His father was Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, Canada and Venezuela from 1970 until 1975. He then held the portfolios of social affairs and labour, interior, defence and foreign affairs until 2001 when he gave up political work on health grounds.

Kuwaitis expressed shock at Shaikh Basel's death, saying he was a generous and selfless person.

UAE offers condolences

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a cable of condolences to Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, on the sad demise of Shaikh Basel.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also sent two cables of condolences to Shaikh Sabah.

With input from WAM