A Saudi Arabian national was kidnapped in Lebanon, a day after the Riyadh government had warned its citizens who were visiting or residing in Beirut to leave immediately, authorities said. Ali al-Bishrawi, 32, was lured away from his residence and has been missing since then, Xinhua news agency quoted the authorities as saying on Friday. His wife, who is a Syrian national, filed a missing person report, after she received an anonymous phone call earlier on Friday demanding a ransom.
The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Lebanon has called for the release of the kidnapped citizen. The embassy confirmed it had “contacted Lebanese security authorities at the highest level to assist to secure the release of the kidnapped citizen unconditionally and as soon as possible”. Meanwhile, Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said that his country would not tolerate people who exploit the current political crisis to disrupt Lebanon’s stability.
“The safety and security of Saudi citizens and all Arab and foreign nationals is a priority for Lebanese authorities,” the minister tweeted. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia issued the warning to all its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately amid accusations that Riyadh was playing a role in the current Lebanese political crisis. Tension has escalated between Riyadh and Beirut since last week when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, prompting some in Beirut to assert that the Saudis forced Hariri to step down.