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10:03 PM Beirut time
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Gulf Arab countries urge their nationals to leave Lebanon
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BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE urged their citizens Wednesday to leave Lebanon immediately amid threats by members of a Lebanese clan who kidnapped earlier in the day over 30 Syrians, as well as one Saudi and one Turkish national.

Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad al-Asiri, who is in Mecca, told the National News Agency he requested all Saudi nationals in Lebanon to leave the country after “the threats have become open.”

Asiri was referring to threats earlier in the day by the Meqdad clan, which said it could take action against Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey over the kidnapping of one its members earlier this week in Syria.

The Meqdad clan said Wednesday it abducted over 30 individuals it described as belonging to the Free Syrian Army, which it claims was behind the kidnapping Monday of their kinsman Hassan Meqdad. The Lebanese clan also said it had in its custody one Saudi and one Turkish national.

The Meqdads hold Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia responsible for the kidnapping given their backing to Syrian rebels. The family also held the Lebanese government responsible for not putting enough efforts to release their relative.

The Saudi ambassador told the NNA that he had also requested that all Saudi nationals avoid travel to Lebanon “given the current circumstances.”

He also denied any knowledge “of Saudi nationals having been kidnapped in Lebanon.”

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait issued similar travel advisories to its citizens in Lebanon.

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