Saudi Arabia Tells Its Citizens to Leave Lebanon as Soon as Possible

Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who recently resigned / REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) — Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens against traveling to Lebanon and asked those in the country to leave as soon as possible, the kingdom's official news agency (SPA) quoted an official source in the Foreign Ministry as saying.

"Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing" there to leave as soon as possible, the source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran and the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah of sowing strife in Arab states and saying he feared assassination.

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Two top Lebanese government officials accused Riyadh of holding Hariri a captive. A third told Reuters that the Saudi authorities ordered Hariri to resign and put him under house arrest.

Saudi Arabia and members of Hariri's Future Movement have denied reports that he is under house arrest.

(Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Peter Graff)