Gulf countries urge citizens to leave Lebanon

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 16, 2012
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Three Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar urged on Wednesday their citizens to leave Lebanon immediately, according to media reports.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri urged all Saudi citizens in Lebanon to leave the country "immediately, after the threats have become public," Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Earlier, media reports said a Saudi man and his son, a Turk along with some Syrians were kidnapped by al-Meqdad clan, a powerful family in Lebanon. The abduction was meant to avenge the detention of one of the family members by some Syrian rebels in Damascus.

The family also held Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar responsible for the kidnap as they think those countries are supporters of the Syrian opposition.

Assiri said he also asked all Saudis "not to visit Lebanon at all under the current circumstances."

Meanwhile, the ambassador said he is not aware of "the abduction of any Saudi citizen in Lebanon."

Also, the UAE ministry of foreign affairs has urged the Emirati citizens not to travel to Lebanon or to leave the Arab country immediately, according to the country's state news agency.

The alert was issued after the UAE embassy in Beirut received information saying that the UAE nationals are being targeted, said an undersecretary of the UAE's ministry of foreign affairs.

"Traveling to Lebanon currently may be dangerous for UAE nationals," he was quoted as saying, "all available information makes it obligatory for us to warn our nationals not to visit Lebanon."

He said the UAE citizens should adhere to the warning until further notice from the ministry.

Meanwhile, Qatar took the similar move as its state news agency said "due to unstable security situation, Qatari embassy in Beirut urged Qatari citizens to leave Lebanon immediately."

Earlier, a Lebanese family said Wednesday that it has kidnapped more than 26 Free Syrian Army (FSA) members, including a Turk, in Lebanon in retaliation for their son's abduction, the National News Agency reported.

The spokesman of the powerful family in Lebanon claimed that there is a Turk among the abducted, saying "we may take escalated measures depending on the latest developments," according to NNA and LBCI TV channel.

In turn, the Turkish Foreign Ministry demanded the Lebanese government provide information on the Turkish national, according to al-Jadeed TV.

The family also held Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey responsible for their kinsman's abduction.

Reportedly, the FSA detained Hassan Salim al-Meqdad in Damascus allegedly over his link to Hezbollah. However, Hezbollah denied such a connection in a statement issued on Tuesday, so did al- Meqdad's family.

Sources said the security measures near the Turkish, Qatari and Saudi embassies in Beirut have intensified after the abduction, according to LBCI. Enditem

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