Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens to leave Lebanon due to the risk of political violence in the country, where twin suicide bombings near Iran’s embassy in Beirut killed 25 people this week.
“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, said.
The warning comes two days after a twin suicide bombings killed 24 people near the Beirut embassy of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran.
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 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 Al Assad.
Riyadh has issued several similar calls in the past two years as the civil war in Syria has inflamed political and sectarian tension in neighbouring Lebanon.
Some commentators in Lebanon have accused Saudi Arabia of being behind Tuesday’s blasts near the embassy of its main Middle East rival. A Lebanese-based Sunni militant group close to Al Qaida has claimed responsibility.
An Iraqi Shiite militia said on Thursday it was behind the firing of six mortar bombs across the border into Saudi Arabia in an attack the day before that Riyadh said caused no damage.