Jordan's former crown prince under house arrest over alleged coup

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Jordan's former crown prince under house arrest over alleged coupAuthorities arrested two aides after raiding King Abdullah's half-brother's palace in...
Photograph: Yousef Allan/AP

Jordanian authorities raided the palace of the kingdom's former crown prince on Saturday and arrested two senior aides after uncovering what intelligence officials believe was an attempted coup against the ruling monarch, King Abdullah.

The arrests focused on a network allegedly connected to Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, a half-brother of King Abdullah, who was removed from his post 16 years ago. Jordan's military leadership later denied reports that Prince Hamzah had been arrested. However, intelligence officials in the region and in Europe said they believed the prominent royal had in effect been placed under house arrest.

Roads near Prince Hamzah's palace in the Jordanian capital Amman were blocked by military units late on Saturday, and police patrolled all entrances to the city and highways to other parts of the country.

Military chief Yusef Ahmed al-Hunait said in a statement that he had been "asked to stop movements and activities that were used to target the security and stability of Jordan". The arrested aides were named by state media as Sharif Hassan bin Zaid and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah. Bin Zaid had previously served as Jordanian envoy to Saudi Arabia and is the brother of a senior Jordanian intelligence officer who was assassinated in 2009 by an al-Qaida double agent in Afghanistan. The suicide attack also killed five…
Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent, and Michael Safi
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