Jordan’s former crown prince, Prince Hamzah, had been liaising with foreign parties over a plot to destabilise the country, the Jordanian deputy prime minister has said.
On Saturday the military said it had issued a warning to the prince over actions targeting “security and stability” in the kingdom. Prince Hamzah, King Abdullah’s half-brother, later said he was under house arrest. Several high-profile figures were detained.
“The investigations had monitored interferences and communications with foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan,” Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday.
These included a foreign intelligence agency contacting Prince Hamzah’s wife to organise a plane for the couple to leave Jordan, he said.
“Initial investigations showed these activities and movements had reached a stage that directly affected the security and stability of the country, but his majesty decided it was best to talk directly to Prince Hamzah, to deal with it within the family to prevent it from being exploited,” he said.
Earlier, Hamzah’s mother Queen Noor, the widow of Jordan’s late king, defended her son.
Safadi said the security services have asked for those involved in the plot be referred to the state security court. He said some 14-16 people were under arrest.
Jordan’s neighbours and allies expressed solidarity with King Abdullah over the security measures in the kingdom, an important ally of the United States.
Jordan is seen as one of the most stable countries in the Middle East.