Saudi Arabian authorities have detained two senior members of the royal family-- Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king's nephew --for an alleged coup attempt.
The duo might be beheaded in an apparent move to consolidate the power of the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The senior members of the Saudi royal family were arrested on Friday morning when the security guards from the royal court wearing masks and dressed in black arrived at the homes of the two men, took them into custody and searched their homes.
However, the Daily Mail has commented that King Mohammed bin Salman launched a crackdown to remove once-formidable rivals to the throne.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the royal court has accused the duo of conspiring to oust King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. They both can be beheaded or sentenced to life term imprisonment.
Mohammed bin Nayef's younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef, had also been detained, according to the New York Times.
There was no immediate comment by Saudi authorities.
The detentions mark the latest crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman's son and the de facto ruler of the kingdom.
Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, has moved to consolidate power since replacing his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne in 2017.
Later that year, he arrested dozens of royals and business people, in what was billed as a move against corruption that was draining state coffers.
But the crown prince has fuelled resentment among some prominent branches of the ruling family by tightening his grip on power and some question his ability to lead following the 2018 murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents and a major attack on Saudi oil infrastructure last year, sources have told Reuters news agency.
The sources said royals seeking to change the line of succession view Prince Ahmed, King Salman's only surviving full brother, as a possible choice who would have the support of family members, the security apparatus and some Western powers.
In late 2018, a video emerged of Prince Ahmed facing protesters outside his London residence and in which he seemed to criticise King Salman and his crown prince for the war in Yemen.