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Bahrain orders nationals to leave Lebanon 'immediately'

Bahrain's foreign ministry warned its citizens to avoid travelling to Lebanon [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2017

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Bahrain on Sunday urged its citizens to avoid travelling to Lebanon and advised those already in the country to leave immediately for their safety.
Bahrain ordered on Sunday its citizens in Lebanon to "leave immediately", amid mounting tension between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran that saw the sudden resignation of the Lebanese prime minister on Saturday.

Bahrain's foreign ministry also warned its citizens to avoid travelling to Lebanon "for their own safety and to avoid any dangers they might encounter".

"Due to the current conditions and developments in Lebanon, the foreign ministry asks citizens present in Lebanon to leave immediately and exercise extreme caution," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It gave no further details on the nature of any threat. 

The tiny Gulf kingdom is a bellwether nation for the Saudi Arabia-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, and often the first to announce sanctions and travel bans, usually targeting countries seen as close to Iran.

The warning came a day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation, citing Iranian influence in Lebanon and the region.

On Saturday, Hariri upended Lebanese politics with his surprise resignation, which he announced during a trip to Riyadh via Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel.

The unorthodox step of resigning publicly and from outside the country has led many to speculate he received orders to step down from Saudi Arabia, widely seen as his patron.

It also believed that Hariri would remain in Saudi Arabia to minimise the "threat" to his life.

Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan claimed on Saturday that there was "confirmed information" of a planned attempt on Hariri's life.

The Lebanese army said in a statement it has not uncovered any plots "for assassinations in the country".

Iran has denied Hariri's claims that it interferes in Lebanon or planned to assassinate the prime minister blaming "unfounded anti-Iran accusations by the Zionist regime (Israel), the Saudis and the Americans".

Iran's Foreign Minister Bahram Qasemi said in a statement that Hariri's resignation aims to "create tension in Lebanon and the entire region".

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