Riyadh, Aug 7: Amid an escalating diplomatic tussle between Saudi Arabia and Canada, a pro-government Saudi Twitter account on Monday shared a picture on Twitter appearing to show an Air Canada plane heading toward the CN Tower in Toronto. The image drew sharp reactions, with many social media users taking it as an apparent threat to Canada with a 9/11-style terrorist attack. The account @Infographic_ksa later deleted the tweet and apologised.
The controversial image contained a message saying "He who interferes with what doesn't concern him finds what doesn't please him". The text "sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong!" was also written on the picture. The tweet sparked immediate outrage as the picture reminded many social media users of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in which planes were hijacked and deliberately flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon.
The picture was shared by Infographic KSA which, according to its website, is a Saudi youth organisation made up of volunteers interested in technology. The Infographic KSA account is verified by Twitter and has over 350,000 followers. The group later deleted the tweet and posted an apology. "The aircraft was intended to symbolise the return of the ambassador," read the tweet. "We realise this was not clear and any other meaning was unintentional."
This came at a time when the governments of Canada and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads with each other over human rights following a tweet by Global Affairs Canada expressing "grave concern" over the recent arrests of civil society and women's rights activists. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry responded on Twitter saying "KSA through its history has not and will not accept any form of interfering in the internal affairs of the Kingdom."
The KSA also ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the country and recalled its ambassador on Sunday. Riyadh also announced it would be suspending all new trade and investment transactions with Canada.