A senior Jordanian official has claimed authorities foiled a “malicious plot” at the “zero hour”, as a new round of arrests reached the closest aide to Prince Hamzah, the royal alleged to have unsuccessfully conspired to oust his half-brother, King Abdullah, in a weekend coup.
The foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Ayman Safadi, said on Sunday that the country’s intelligence services had intercepted a plot as it was about to be carried out. He offered scant details but said Hamzah had liaised with a foreign government to destabilise the kingdom.
He also alleged that a foreign spy service had contacted Hamzah’s wife about leaving the country by plane, and that all communications had been monitored. Safadi said about 15 people had been arrested. The latest was Hamzah’s office director, Yasser al-Majali. Soldiers took him from his home at gunpoint, relatives said.
Initial investigations showed these activities and movements had reached a stage that directly affected the security and stability of the country,” said Safadi. “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.
Any plan to quietly contain the fallout appears to have been discarded. The allegations caught Jordan’s allies and much of the country by surprise, exposing a rare and damaging public rupture among family members and sparking highly unusual dissent from a senior royal towards a monarch who had presided over relative calm since the death of his father, King Hussein, nearly 22 years ago.
Another central figure in the alleged plot is Bassem Awadallah, a former royal court aide with close ties to King Abdullah. Speculation continues to swirl in Amman about how Hamzah and Awadallah, who were not known to have been in contact, could have emerged as co-conspirators. Hamzah is popular among the country’s military and eastern tribal leaders while Awadallah led the deregulation of the country’s private sector, a drive that created friction with many in those same communities.
Hamzah released a defiant video from under house arrest in Amman on Saturday night in which he denied any link to a coup and railed against the country’s leadership. His mother, Queen Noor, King Abdullah’s stepmother, described the allegations as a “wicked slander” and called for “truth and justice to prevail.
In other news – Connie Ferguson thanks fans for their endless support #Rockville5
Ferguson Films’ show, Rockville, made a dramatic comeback to screens on Sunday evening – Connie Ferguson took to social media to thank the fans for the support they have been showing.
Social media users reacted to the first episode of the new season and are loving the Rockville storyline. Learn more