Arab countries warn citizens to stay away from Lebanon

Arab countries warn citizens to stay away from Lebanon
2 min read
18 October, 2021
Several Arab countries have warned their citizens not to travel to Lebanon following the deadly clashes in Beirut on Thursday.
The warnings come after the deadliest outbreak of armed violence in Lebanon in years [Getty]

Several Arab states have warned their citizens not to travel to Lebanon following deadly clashes in Beirut on Thursday, and warning citizens already residing in the country to exercise caution.

The Saudi foreign ministry on Sunday officially banned its citizens from traveling to Lebanon, adding that it hoped "security will prevail" in the country soon.

Kuwait also warned its citizens against travelling to Lebanon, while Jordan and Qatar urged citizens present there to avoid certain areas and act with caution.

Lebanon witnessed its worst bout of armed violence in years on Thursday as clashes between rival gunmen erupted, killing six and wounding 30. The violence followed a demonstration by the country's two main Shia political factions - Hezbollah and Amal - against Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation into the Beirut port explosion.

Bitar has faced increasing opposition in the last month as he summoned senior officials for questioning in relation to last year's port blast, which killed 218 and wounded at 6,500.

Both Hezbollah and Amal claim that he is supported by "foreign elements", namely the US.

The sudden eruption of violence comes as the country marks the two-year anniversary of its 2019 anti-corruption protests.

In October 2019, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country demanding an end to the corruption which has plagued Lebanon and its institutions for decades.

The turnout for a protest to mark its two-year anniversary, however, was relatively meagre with just a few hundred people marching in Martyrs' Square which two years ago was the epicentre of the country's revolt.

Since 2019, economic and political conditions in Lebanon have drastically worsened, with the national currency losing 90 percent of its value and over two-thirds of the population experiencing "multi-dimensional" poverty.