© Feng Li/Getty Images
Jordan's King Abdullah II pictured during a visit to Beijing. Stones and bottles were allegedly aimed at his car during a visit to Tafila, 125 miles south of Amman.
Attack by stone and bottle throwing youths hours after King Abdullah II announced political reforms is denied by government

The motorcade of King Abdullah II of Jordan has reportedly come under attack from protesters throwing bottles and stones during a visit to a town in the country's south.

Abdullah was unhurt in the attack, which came hours after he bowed to popular demands for political reform, agreeing to have an elected prime minister from a parliamentary majority replace the current method of appointing the cabinet.

An unnamed security official said young people attacked the motorcade in two different areas in Tafila, 125 miles south of the capital Amman.

A government spokesman, Taher Edwan, later rejected the account.

"This news is totally baseless," he said. "There was no attack whatsoever with empty bottles and stones.

"What happened is that a group of young Jordanians thronged the monarch's motorcade to shake hands with him."

He said that when police "pushed them away, there was a lot of shoving".

A palace official who accompanied Abdullah gave a similar account: "It was a gesture of welcome, not an attack."

Abdullah was on a fact-finding trip to inspect infrastructure projects and hear his subjects' demands.

The king has agreed to elected cabinets but gave no timetable, saying that sudden change could lead to "chaos and unrest".

The move represented a big concession to demands from activists who have taken to the streets in six months of protests to demand a greater political say.

Many Jordanians want the king to loosen his absolute grip on power, which includes appointing prime ministers and cabinets.

In the televised speech on Sunday, marking his 12th year as Jordan's ruler, Abdullah said future cabinets will be formed according to an elected parliamentary majority.

He also promised further changes without giving much detail, saying that a royal commission is now exploring "possible amendments" to the constitution appropriate for Jordan's "present and future".

When Abdullah became king in 1999, he floated the idea of a constitutional monarchy similar to the British system, but little has been said on the subject since.

Jordanians have been demanding a new elected parliament that would replace one widely seen as docile.

However, a small group of activists says it wants the king to relinquish all his power and become only a figurehead.

But major political parties such as the powerful Muslim Brotherhood have rejected such proposals, calling the king a "stabilising influence".

Abdullah said the changes would be implemented based on the recommendations of a national dialogue committee, which recently proposed laws governing elections and political parties.

The committee is also reviewing economic legislation to tackle official corruption, nepotism and bureaucracy.

The Jordanian government has lifted restrictions on public assembly, allowing protesters to demonstrate freely.

But it has said it needs time to enact laws on political freedoms, including those addressing election and political parties.

Abdullah sacked his prime minister in February, responding to protesters' complaints that he was insensitive to their economic hardships.

Protests in Jordan have been relatively smaller and generally more peaceful than elsewhere in the Middle East, although one person died during a protest in March.

One man burned himself badly in April after setting himself on fire outside the prime minister's office.