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Saudi kidnapped in Lebanon for ransom freed

Al Bashrawi’s kidnappers asked for $1.5m but authorities say he was released without paying the sum

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Caption: Al Bashrawi's national identity card
Gulf News

Manama: A Saudi national who was had been kidnapped in Lebanon will be home within two days, the Saudi attaché in Beirut has said.

“We were able to determine the location of the Saudi citizen 48 hours after he was kidnapped and we followed up contacts and investigations with the Lebanese security agencies and with the leaders of the Lebanese army until he was released in accordance with the Saudi policy without conditions or ransom,” Waleed Al Bokahri said.

“He will be home in Saudi Arabia within two days following the security procedures,” the diplomat told Al Ekhbariya Television.

Ali Al Bashrawi, 33, was reportedly kidnapped on November 9, prompting a massive manhunt to locate and free him.

Lebanese security officials are questioning the 32-year-old Saudi as part of their investigation.

Al Bashrawi was found by the Lebanese army neat the Lebanese-Syrian borders.

According to Lebanese reports, he was kidnapped after he was lured out of a house he owned in Lebanon and taken to an unidentified location.

His kidnappers then contacted his family and asked for $1.5 million to release him.

His brother Mohammad said on Monday they were not aware of where he was being kept and added that the calls Ali’s wife received were from Syrian numbers.

He added that either Ali was taken to Syria or his kidnappers used Syrian numbers to mislead investigators.

The kidnappers asked for a prompt payment of the ransom, he added.

“We are in close contacts with the embassy as they are trying to elucidate this mystery,” he told Saudi daily Okaz.

Another Saudi daily, Makkah, reported that Ali was from Al Qateef in eastern Saudi Arabia and that he had a Syrian wife with whom he was living in Lebanon.

According to the daily, his family in Saudi Arabia was not initially aware of his marriage until he informed them he had a Syrian wife and that the couple had a two-year-old son.

He then brought his wife to Saudi Arabia where they lived until they moved around seven months ago to Lebanon where they planned to stay for one year.

The daily said that Ali had a business and that he often traveled to Turkey.

Al Bashrawi was kidnapped on the same day Saudi Arabia asked all its citizens visiting or living in Lebanon to leave and advised all Saudis to avoid traveling to the Mediterranean country, citing safety concerns.

Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates issued similar travel warnings.

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