Saudi police have arrested three royal household members such as 2 senior princes, the US press reported Friday, signaling the potent crown prince is tightening his grasp on power.
The New York Times also reported that the detentions, including that Prince Nayef’s younger brother Prince Nawaf bin Nayef had been arrested.
Saudi authorities didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Prince Mohammed, the king’s son, has confronted a torrent of global condemnation over the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi within the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018.
Prince Ahmed, believed to be in his 70s, had returned into the kingdom out of his base in London in the wake of this Khashoggi scandal, in what some viewed as a bid to shore up support for the monarchy.
At the moment, Saudi television stations revealed Prince Mohammed kissing the hands of the elderly prince and kneeling before him at a series of reverence.
Western press reports later said the prince was put under house arrest, a claim strongly denied by Saudi authorities.
“Prince Mohammed is emboldened — he’s ousted any dangers to his increase and murdered or convicted critics of his regime with no repercussion,” Becca Wasser, a policy analyst in the US-based RAND Corporation, said of the most recent crackdown.
“That is a further measure to shore up his energy along with a message to anybody — such as royals — to not cross him.” The detentions come at a sensitive time as Saudi Arabia pubs Muslim pilgrims out of Islam’s holiest sites to include the novel coronavirus.
The kingdom has suspended the”umrah” yearlong pilgrimage over fears of the disease spreading to Mecca and Medina, increasing doubt over the approaching hajj — a vital pillar of Islam.
The oil-rich kingdom can be grappling with plunging cost of primitive, its key source of earnings.