Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for the expulsion of all Lebanese nationals in Kuwait if the Kuwaiti kidnapped on Saturday in eastern Lebanon was not released. The Kuwaiti government should immediately announce that if Esam Al Hooty was not released within 24 hours safe and sound or if any Kuwaiti national was harmed in any way, all Lebanese residents would be expelled from Kuwait and interests would be cut off,” Khalid Al Sultan said.

“We should follow the Doha threat to expel all Lebanese citizens from Qatar if any Qatari was attacked in their country,” he said.

Al Hooty, reportedly an engineer working for the Kuwait Oil Company, was abducted in front of his home in Hosh Al Gahanam in the Bekaa Valley where he was spending his holidays with his Lebanese wife from the nearby village of Talya and daughter. Reports said that the 52-year-old Kuwaiti was kidnapped as he arrived home in his private car that had Kuwaiti licence plates. A report that Al Hooty had been released and that he was on his way to the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut was denied by his relatives who said that there had been no contact from anyone. As the kidnapping mystery deepened, speculations mounted on the motives of the abductors, ranging from political reactions to the grave situation in neighbouring Syria to attempts to secure a large amount of ransom money from the victim’s family. Officials in both Kuwait City and Beirut said that they were monitoring the case closely and that they were deploying tremendous efforts to secure Al Hooty’s release. However, lawmakers in Kuwait, shocked that a Kuwaiti national could be kidnapped in a country that has largely benefited from Kuwaiti support and presence, are becoming more vociferous in their pressure on the government to have Al Hooty released and repatriated. Kuwait earlier this month warned all Kuwaiti nationals to leave or avoid Lebanon following threats by a local clan to kidnap Gulf nationals. Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also issued similar warnings to their citizens. Thousands of Gulf nationals regularly spend their summer holidays in the Mediterranean country.