Jordan in security sweep, king's half-brother says under 'house arrest'

Jordan in security sweep, king's half-brother says under 'house arrest'

The half-brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II says he has been placed under house arrest by Jordanian authorities and accused the country's leadership of corruption and incompetence.

"An investigation into the matter is ongoing", said the source.

But Major General Yousef Huneiti did say that Prince Hamza bin Al-Hussein was asked to stop "movements and activities that are used to target" the security and stability of Jordan.

"I had a visit from the chief of general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning, in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them because in the meetings that I had been present in, or on social media relating to visits that I had made, there has been criticism of the government or the king", Hamzah said in a video published by the BBC, where he was speaking in English.

Qatar expressed its full solidarity with Jordan and its full support to the decisions and measures issued by King Abdullah to preserve security and stability, and boost the process of progress and prosperity, state news agency QNA said.

Yemen's internationally recognised government "affirms its absolute support and totally stands with all decisions and measures taken by His Majesty King Abdullah aimed at maintaining security and ending any attempts to destabilise the sisterly Kingdom of Jordan", state news agency Saba said.

The monarch replaced him with his eldest son, Hussein, four years into his rule.

He said some 14-16 people are under arrest, in addition to two senior officials close to Prince Hamzah. The kingdom, which has scant resources, received some $1.5 billion in assistance from the 2020 - a result of Abdullah's popularity among congressional leaders.

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King Mohammed VI held a phone call today with King Abdullah II on Sunday, reassuring him of Morocco's full support for the stability and security in Jordan.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said: "We are closely following the reports and are in touch with Jordanian officials".

King Abdullah dismissed Prince Hamza as heir to the throne in 2004 in a move that consolidated his power.

Stability in Jordan and the status of the king have always been matters of 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.

As the eldest son of Queen Nour (nee Lisa Halaby), his father's fourth and final queen, the now-41-year-old prince was thought to be King Hussein's top choice as successor; he was passed over because he was still in school.

With Hamzah remaining under house arrest Sunday, it was unclear how long the standoff could continue without threatening Abdullah's global standing.

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. He later became chief executive of Tomoh Advisory, a Dubai-based consultancy.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf, has also expressed its support, as did Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He also pointed to the decline in Jordan's economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

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