Three senior members of the Saudi royal family have reportedly been arrested, accused of plotting a coup.
Saudi officials have detained three members of the royal family for allegedly plotting to oust King Salman and the son he has designated to succeed him, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Journal said guards from the royal court detained one of the king’s brothers, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, one of his nephews, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and a royal cousin, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef.
The men were arrested at their homes and charged with treason, it said.
Guards arrived at the homes of the royals wearing masks and dressed in black, and searched their homes, according to the report.
Mohammed bin Nayef, a once powerful figure as head of Saudi counter-terrorism efforts, had been crown prince until 2017, when King Salman took away the title and put his son first in line for the throne of the longtime US ally.
The crown prince, who is in charge of day-to-day governance in the kingdom, has been praised in the West for implementing social reforms, but he also has drawn intense criticism for a tough crackdown on Saudis perceived as critics of his policies.
The arrest of Mohammed bin Nayef in particular is obviously huge news. These actions will once again trigger much discussion about the reliability and wisdom of MbS as a ruler. Will resurface all the familiar concerns. https://t.co/nqTPIn2aFm
— Michael Hanna (@mwhanna1) March 6, 2020
He also came under criticism after the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Critics accused him of being linked to the slaying, but he denied it.
A Saudi court sentenced five people to death for the killing, but did not hold any high-ranking officials responsible.
Congress has also harshly criticised Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.