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Saudi denies house arrest of former crown prince

Weeks after the news of the dramatic shuffling of the Saudi Arabia’s line of succession, there are news circulating that former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted as next in line to the throne last week, is being held under house arrest.

In a series of decrees King Salman removed his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, as crown prince and installed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman in his place.

The shakeup in the royal family comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia, which is in a battle for regional influence with Iran, bogged down in a controversial military intervention in neighboring Yemen, and at loggerheads with fellow US Gulf ally Qatar.

Bin Nayef, 57, a veteran law enforcer who served as both crown prince and interior minister, was a favorite of Western governments due to his counter-terrorism expertise.

While the reshuffle took some observers by surprise, the writing had been on the wall for some time. In recent years, the King, 81, has handed a wide range of powers to his son while seeking to enact reforms in the conservative country.

The Saudi official call the claim as unfounded rumors.

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