A senior Saudi official on Thursday denied as “baseless” a New York Times report that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef has been confined to his palace in Jeddah and barred from traveling abroad, according to a Reuters report.
The original report in the New York Times cited four current and former American officials and Saudis “close to the royal family” as saying the prince was restricted in order to limit any potential political opposition for the new crown prince.
Just last week, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was head of all of Saudi Arabia’s state security apparatus, which he built over decades with close coordination with the United States and other Western allies. The Prince earned a reputation as a hard-working and successful leader and is credited with keeping a surging Al-Qaeda down in the Kingdom in the years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Understanding exactly what is happening within the Saudi royal family is impossible to factually verify. But according to Reuters, the senior Saudi official expressed shock at the report, which he described as a “fabricated story” and suggested that Mohammed bin Nayef may seek legal action against the newspaper.