Riyadh: The palace of Jordan’s former crown prince in Amman was raided on Saturday (local time) and two of his senior aides arrested after officials uncovered what they believed was an attempted coup against the kingdom’s ruling monarch King Abdullah II, state media reported.
The arrested aides include Hassan bin Zaid, a member of Jordan’s royal family and envoy to Saudi Arabia, and Basem Ibrahim Awadallah, a long time confident of King Abdullah.
“Jordanian citizens, Hassan bin Zaid, Basem Ibrahim Awadallah, and others were arrested,” Sputnik reported citing sources.
Senior palace officials arrested
The two senior palace officials and the unnamed “others” were reportedly arrested for security reasons after a “close security follow-up.” An investigation is underway as reported by Sputnik. The agency later denied media reports claiming that Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein, a half-brother of King Abdullah and former crown prince, had been detained or put under house arrest.
The Washington Post reported that as many as 20 people were arrested by Jordanian Police who sought to restrain the movement of the former crown prince.
“The move followed the discovery of what officials described as a complex and far-reaching plot that included at least one other Jordanian royal as well as tribal leaders and members of the country’s political and security establishment. One official cited unspecified evidence of “foreign” backing for the plan,” the Post reported.
Jordanian Armed Forces confirmed multiple arrests
In a statement later on Saturday, the Jordanian Armed Forces confirmed the multiple arrests and said that Prince Hamzah had been “asked to cease all movements or activities that could be employed to target Jordan’s security and stability.”
Jordan is regarded as a vital ally of the United States in the Middle East and has been a major partner in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State.
Zaid is a distant cousin of King Abdullah. His brother was Ali Bin Zaid, an intelligence officer killed along with seven CIA operatives in 2010 in a suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan.