Saudi Arabia and allies urge citizens not to go to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait advise their citizens not to travel to Lebanon, urge those who are there to leave.

Elad Benari ,

Flag of Lebanon
Flag of Lebanon

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait on Thursday advised their citizens not to travel to Lebanon and urged those who are already in the country to leave as soon as possible, Al Jazeera reported.

Saudi Arabia was the first country to issue the warning, with its official news agency SPA quoting a source in the foreign ministry as saying, "Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible.”

"The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations," it added.

Hours later, Kuwait and the UAE also urged its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately, according to Al Jazeera.

Bahrain had already ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon on Sunday, with the Bahraini foreign ministry issuing a travel advisory that cited "safety considerations".

The warnings follow the unexpected resignation on Saturday of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who cited Iran's "grip" on the country and threats to his life for the move.

Hariri's whereabouts have been unknown since the announcement, but Lebanese officials claimed earlier on Thursday that Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia against his will.

During his resignation announcement, Hariri, a two-time prime minister whose father Rafik was assassinated when he held the same position in 2005, accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of seeking hegemony in the region.

His resignation came less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah belongs, was formed.

Following his announcement, Saudi Arabia, which is Iran's regional rival, said that Lebanon had declared war against it because of “aggression” against the Kingdom by Hezbollah.