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Kuwait joins other Gulf states in urging citizens to leave Lebanon

Kuwait has followed Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain in calling for its citizens to leave Lebanon. Tensions in the region have been rising since the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

The Kuwaiti Embassy in Beirut issued the travel advisory and warning on Wednesday, just a day after Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain issued similar warnings.

Officials said Kuwaiti citizens should leave Lebanon "except in extreme situations." The statement did not specify the reason for the announcement.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia issued a statement urging its citizens to leave Lebanon, a week after Riyadh said it would halt billions of dollars worth of weapons deliveries to Beirut. The country's warning triggered a domino effect in the region, with UAE quickly following suit by banning citizens from entering Lebanon altogether, and Bahrain also releasing a travel warning.

Tensions over Iran

None of the countries specified why they issued the travel warnings. However, when Riyadh announced its decision to withhold the military aid, it cited Lebanon's refusal to condemn the attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran earlier this month.

Those attacks - in which protestors stormed into the embassy, shredded documents, smashed furniture and set the building on fire - were allegedly set off by Riyadh's execution of Shiite cleric named Nimr al-Nimr. After the protests, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Iran.

Historically, Lebanon has ties with regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. Riyadh has, however, seen its influence over Beirut wane in recent years. Furthermore, Lebanon sponsors the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran.

blc/sms (AFP, AP)

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