By Servet Gunerigok
Saudi authorities detained three royal family members, including a brother of the king and a former crown prince, for an alleged coup attempt, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a brother of King Salman, and former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the king’s nephew, are accused of treason, according to the report.
Guards from the Royal Court wearing masks raided the homes of senior members of royal family early Friday and took them into custody, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The guards also arrested one of the prince’s brothers.
“The Saudi royal court accused the two men of plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince, according to people familiar with the situation,” said the report, referring to King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman.
In November 2017, Saudi authorities arrested dozens of businessmen and princes on corruption allegations and held them in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.
Since then, bin Salman, who has been facing harsh criticism for his alleged role in the murder of journalist Khashoggi, has consolidated his grip on power.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 2, 2018.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later, the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there, blaming a rogue group of Saudi operatives.
The CIA reportedly determined with confidence that bin Salman directed Khashoggi’s murder.AA