Jordan in security sweep, king`s half-brother put under house arrest

King receives phone calls from Arab leaders

The Jordanian government initially denied reports that Prince Hamzah had been arrested, but a video first obtained by the BBC said that he was under house arrest and had his phone and internet access restricted.

Domestically, Prince Hamzah's unprecedented criticism of the ruling class _ without naming the king _ could lend support to growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

Deputy Prime Minister Safadi said that the stability of Jordan was a top priority, and that the results of their ongoing investigations would eventually be announced in "all transparency".

The Jordanian Ammon news agency, which cited an "informed source", on Sunday claimed former Israeli spy Roy Shaposhnik contacted the wife of former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein, and offered to fly her out of the country with their children.

He denied being part of "any conspiracy or nefarious organisation", but said the country of 10 million people had "become stymied in corruption, in nepotism and in misrule" and that no one was allowed to criticise the authorities.

Security services monitored "contacts with foreign parties aiming to destabilise Jordan's security", including an alleged offer to spirit Hamzah's wife out of the country, he said.

Official news agency Petra named former close aides to the royal family Bassem Awadallah, chief of the royal court in 2007-2008, and Sherif Hassan bin Zaid among an unspecified number of suspects arrested.

"We confirm here that there is now full control over these movements ... and the state services were able to smother them before they began", Safadi said.

What was the reaction in Jordan?


"Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander", former Queen Noor wrote on Twitter. "God bless and keep them safe".

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi called King Abdullah on Monday and reaffirmed his country's support for the kingdom.

The US State Department said Washington was "closely following" the events, stressing that key partner Abdullah "has our full support".

Despite the lack of details on how this incident is connected to the former Crown Prince of Jordan Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein, who has appeared in videos saying he is being put under house arrest, Jordanians have been busy digging up information about the two men who have been confirmed arrested.

In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Jordan's stability and prosperity was the "basis for the stability and prosperity of the whole region" and vowed "firm and lasting" support for it.

He added that at least 16 people, including a former adviser to King Abdullah and another member of the royal family, had been arrested over the plot to "undermine the security" of the country.

The spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency said that Sisi was assured during the call that the situation in Jordan remains stable. "All the solidarity with the Jordanian leadership and King Abdullah in defending the gains of the Jordanian people, protecting their stability, and refusing interference in their affairs".

Stability in Jordan and the status of the king have always been a concern throughout the region, particularly during the Trump administration, which gave unprecedented support to Israel and sought to isolate the Palestinians, including by slashing funding for Palestinian refugees. However, regional powers and Western allies, including the USA and United Kingdom, have all voiced support for the king. US special forces and other troops routinely train with the Jordanians. He has occupied various roles, including brigadier in the Jordanian army.

The pair share a father in the late King Hussein, but have different mothers. While the two are said to have generally good relations, Hamzah has at times spoken out against government policies, and more recently had forged ties with powerful tribal leaders in a move seen as a threat to the king.

After the late king's death, Hamzah was designated Crown Prince, with Abdullah II ascending to the throne.

In his video, Hamzah, 41, accused Jordan's ruling class of corruption and stifling freedom of expression.

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