Saudi Arabia has arrested two members of the Saudi royal family: Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, King Salman's younger brother, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king's nephew, said two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, also known as MBS, and the de facto ruler of the world's leading oil exporter and key US ally. UU., He has moved to consolidate power since he overthrew his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne in a coup in 2017. He arrested several royals in an anti-corruption campaign that same year.
A source said the arrests took place on Friday. Reuters could not immediately determine the reasons behind the arrests.
The Wall Street Journal reported the arrests of the two royalty members early Friday and said they were related to an alleged coup attempt.
Bloomberg also reported the arrests Friday night.
Saudi officials could not be reached immediately for comment early Saturday. The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comments from Reuters.
MBS has fueled resentment among some prominent branches of the ruling family by strengthening its control over power and some question its ability to lead after the assassination in 2018 of a leading journalist by Saudi agents and the biggest attack on Saudi oil infrastructure the year Past, sources said.
They said that royals looking to change the line of succession see Prince Ahmed, King Salman's only surviving full brother, as a possible option that would have the support of family members, the security apparatus and some powers Western
Saudi experts and Western diplomats say the family is unlikely to oppose the crown prince while the 84-year-old king is still alive, acknowledging that the king is unlikely to turn against his favorite son.
The monarch has delegated most of the government's responsibilities to his son, but he still chairs the weekly cabinet meetings and receives foreign dignitaries.
Prince Ahmed has largely maintained a low profile since his return to Riyadh in October 2018 after two and a half months abroad. During the trip, he seemed to criticize Saudi leaders while responding to protesters outside a London residence singing for the fall of the Al Saud dynasty.
He was one of only three people on the Loyalty Council, composed of the main members of the ruling Al Saud family, who opposed Mohammed bin Salman becoming an crown prince in 2017, sources said earlier.
Mohammed bin Nayef's movements have been restricted and monitored since then, sources said earlier.
The latest arrests occur at a time of greater tension with the regional rival Iran and when Crown Prince Mohammed implements ambitious social and economic reforms, including an initial public offering of the oil giant Saudi Aramco on the national stock exchange last December.
Saudi Arabia is also the current president of the Group of the 20 main economies.
MBS has been praised at home for easing social restrictions in the Muslim kingdom and opening the economy.
But he has been criticized internationally for a devastating war in Yemen, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the consulate of the kingdom of Istanbul and the arrest of women's rights activists as part of an offensive against dissent.
Reuters news agency