Saudi embassy urges citizens to quit Lebanon over ‘danger’

A man walks past Lebanese Army soldiers patrolling a street in the Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tebbaneh neighborhood, in Tripoli, northern Lebanon Oct. 23, 2012. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Beirut has called on citizens to leave Lebanon because of the dangerous situation, its ambassador said Thursday, after some media linked the kingdom to deadly blasts.

“The Saudi embassy sent a text message to (Saudi) citizens in Lebanon advising them to leave, considering the danger of the situation and out of concern for their safety,” the ambassador, Awad Assiri, told AFP.

The warning comes two days after a twin suicide bombings killed 24 people near the Beirut embassy of Saudi’s regional rival Iran, which is located in the stronghold of powerful Tehran ally Hezbollah.

The text messages sent to Saudis in Lebanon read: “Considering the security situation at the moment and the media campaign, the embassy advises citizens to return home, and advises caution.”

Tuesday’s attack outside the Iranian embassy were followed by a stinging campaign in some pro-Hezbollah media outlets against Saudi Arabia, accusing the Gulf monarchy of being behind the blasts.

“Saudi Arabia: losses in Syria and suicide in Lebanon,” read a headline on Wednesday in pro-Hezbollah daily al-Akhbar.

On Thursday, al-Akhbar said Lebanon had “entered into the era of suicide bombings,” adding that the attackers had “resorted to the takfiri (extremist Sunni) heritage sponsored by the Saudi kingdom with millions of dollars.”

Twenty-five people were killed and nearly 150 people wounded in Tuesday’s attack on the embassy of Iran, which supports Hezbollah and backs Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Saudi Arabia supports the rebels fighting to topple Assad.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41