Hezbollah militants harassing Lebanese and Gulf nationals


hezbollah in black paradeHezbollah militants briefly took captive a Saudi embassy driver and impounded his car, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awwadh Asiri said here Friday.

The militants stopped the car in Beirut’s Galleri Saman Bolivar Camille Shamoun area and scoured through confidential embassy papers and took their photographs before releasing the Saudi driver.

In a statement to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Ambassador Asiri said he has telephoned Prime Minister Najeeb Mikati and submitted a written memo to the Lebanese Foreign Ministry in protest.

The incident, Asiri said, breaches diplomatic norms and is in flagrant violation of the diplomatic immunity and Lebanese law.

On Thursday, Asiri added, two Saudi nationals were stopped in Mu’awwadh area by Hezbollah militants. They were held for long hours and illegally interrogated. Asiri said they were released only after he telephoned the concerned authorities.

In another related development the Kuwait embassy in Lebanon urged citizens to leave the country as soon as possible and has provided a plane that would leave Beirut Friday evening “for those wishing to leave.”

The embassy, in a statement, made the appeal after some parties adopted “unofficial” security measures “outside the framework of the State” which resulted in harassment of citizens and diplomats in Lebanon.

This may be in reference to the security measures Hezbollah has adopted in Beirut’s southern suburbs after two bombings targeting the pro-Hezbollah area killed dozens and wounded hundreds. Many Lebanese citizens and foreign nationals including diplomats complained about the harassment by Hezbollah.

The Kuwait embassy warned that citizens who wanted to stay “will do so on their own responsibility due to the sensitivity of the situation.”

The embassy noted that those parties ( Hezbollah) were ignoring local and international laws, and have stopped and questioned a Kuwaiti diplomat at “one of the unofficial security checkpoint in an indecent manner, in violation of his diplomatic immunity or international relations or even the brotherly relations between the two countries.”

The embassy said similar incidents happened with other embassies, therefore it was important that citizens leave the country for their own safety.

Saudi Gazette/ KUNA