Jordan Palace Purge: King's Brother, Top Royals Arrested after 'Security' Threat

Senior members of Jordan's royal family have been arrested or censured by the country's military, which said it was trying to prevent people who targeted the "security and stability" of the country.

The highest ranking royal to face the action was Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of King Abduullah II. Prince Hamza, who is the former prince, said he was placed under house arrest. The Jordanian officials denied the former crown prince's arrest, however.

According to Jordan's official news agency, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Basem Ibrahim Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, were arrested over security reasons. Basem had earlier served as the finance and and planning minister of Jordan, the Petra news agency said.

King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan visited NTU NTU website

Oldest Son of Former King Hussein

Prince Hamza said later on Saturday that his security personnel was taken away and his mobile phone and internet services were disconnected. He also told BBC that his satellite internet connection was also 'under threat'.

Prince Hamza denied he was part of any conspiracy against the country but criticized the establishment. "I'm not part of any conspiracy or nefarious organization or foreign-backed group, as is always the claim here for anyone who speaks out ... There are members of this family who still love this country, who care for [its people] and will put them above all else," he said, according to NPR.

In a slightly different version of the events, Reuters reported that Jordan's military told Prince Hamza to to stop his actions against the security and stability of the country. The report said the military was making an obvious reference to purported attempts to destabilize the country.

Prince Hamza, the oldest son of the late King Hussein, appeared to be supporting that line when he said the government brooked no criticism at all and that there are members of the royal family who still loved the country. "Even to criticize a small aspect of a policy leads to arrest and abuse by security services and it's reached a point where no one is able to speak or express an opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened," he added.

No One is Above Law, Says Military Chief

Meanwhile, Jordan's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti, said Hamza was arrested.

The military chief explained that Prince Hamza was asked to "cease any movement and activities that could be used to target the security and stability of Jordan." The General added that a comprehensive joint investigations carried out by the security services led to the arrests of Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid and Bassan Awadallah and others.

He also added that no one is above the law and that Jordan's security and stability take precedence over any consideration.

Regional Powers Support King Abdullah

Meanwhile, prominent Gulf Arab capitals supported King Abdullah. "The Kingdom affirms its complete stand by the sisterly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its full support with all its capabilities for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and His Highness Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability," a statement issued by the Royal Court in Riyadh said.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the government of Lebanon also supported King Abdullah. Separately, the US State reiterated that King Abdullah is a key partner. "We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told CNN.