Jordan's king to ask his security adviser to form a new Cabinet

Jordan's King Abdullah II intends to appoint his national security adviser as prime minister and ask him to form a new government in the wake of the Amman hotel bombings, a top government official said Thursday. Marouf al-Bakhit, Jordan's ambassador to Israel, was expected to be designated as the new prime minister, replacing Adnan Badran, the official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the press.

The change of government is part of general shake-up following the suicide-bombings of three Amman hotels on Nov. 9, which killed 63 people, including the bombers, and wounded hundreds. The blasts harmed Jordan's reputation as one of the most stable countries in the Middle East.

Al-Bakhit was appointed Nov. 15 to head the national security council, a post that entails liasing between the king and the security services.

The official predicted a new Cabinet would be formed within days following al-Bakhit's consultations with various political parties. Badran, who has run the government since April, was expected to tender his resignation to the king later Thursday, the official added.

Government officials said the king may have chosen al-Bakhit owing to his reputation as a tough former general who ran a southern Jordanian university that trains army and police recruits, reports the AP. I.L.

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