Thursday, November 21, 2013

Saudi Arabia warns its citizens to leave Lebanon after embassy bombing

RIYADH (AP) - Saudi Arabia is urging its citizens to leave Lebanon and exercise caution following this week’s deadly bombing at the Iranian Embassy and deepening tensions with Lebanon’s Hizbollah militants.

Shiite-led Hizbollah has indirectly blamed Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia for Tuesday’s twin suicide blasts, which killed 23 people. A Sunni radical group linked to Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility.

Saudi Arabia and Hizbollah are longstanding foes, but are now rivals in Syria’s civil war. Saudi rulers are key backers of Syrian rebels, while Hizbollah is fighting alongside the forces of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

A statement on Thursday from the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon urged its citizens to “return to the kingdom and be cautious”.

Lebanon has been a popular holiday spot for Saudis, but numbers have dropped off sharply since Hizbollah joined the battles in Syria.