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Kuwait tells citizens to leave Lebanon
September 1, 2013, 10:54 am

Kuwait ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon after a Hezbollah militia checkpoint there allegedly stopped a vehicle attached to the Saudi embassy and briefly detained two Saudis.

The order was issued as tensions grow in the region over a possible Western-led military strike on Syria, which neighbours Lebanon. Gulf officials cite concern that Syrian-allied Hezbollah militia in Lebanon may retaliate.

A Kuwaiti diplomat also was stopped and questioned “at an unofficial security checkpoint, in an indecent manner,” the Kuwait state press agency said late Friday, quoting a statement from the Kuwait embassy in Lebanon. The statement gave no details of that alleged confrontation.

Kuwait would be providing a plane for citizens wishing to leave Lebanon, the state press agency said.

The two Saudi nationals who were detained had travelled to Beirut’s Dahiyeh district on Friday for auto repairs, Saudi ambassador Ali Awad Assiri was quoted as saying in Saturday’s edition of Saudi daily As-Sharq Al-Awsat.

The southern Beirut neighbourhood is a stronghold of Hezbollah. A car bomb there in mid-August killed at least 18, in an attack that some Lebanese politicians and news commentators linked to Hezbollah support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah stopped the two Saudi nationals, blindfolded them, and took them away for investigation for several hours; the Saudi newspaper quoted the kingdom’s ambassador as saying.

A Saudi embassy vehicle that went to retrieve the two was stopped and searched at a checkpoint at the entrance to Dahiyeh, the report added.

Saudi Arabia and the other five nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council have long-standing advisories to their citizens not to travel to Lebanon.

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