Saudi Arabia urges its citizens to ‘immediately’ leave Lebanon

The Saudi embassy warned its citizens not to visit areas where armed clashes were taking place.

Palestinian residents flee their home in the refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon
Palestinian residents flee their home after clashes that erupted between members of the Palestinian Fatah group and hardline fighters in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Sunday, July 30, 2023 [Mohammad Zaatari/AP Photo]

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Lebanon urged its citizens to leave the country as soon as possible, and to avoid approaching areas where there have been armed clashes.

In a statement posted late Friday on X, formerly known as Twitter, the embassy warned Saudi citizens not to visit areas where armed clashes were taking place, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

The kingdom did not specify which areas in Lebanon it was advising its citizens to avoid.

The embassy stressed “the importance of adhering to the Saudi travel ban to Lebanon”, the statement added.

Kuwait also issued an advisory early on Saturday calling on Kuwaitis in Lebanon to stay vigilant and avoid “areas of security disturbances” but stopped short of asking them to leave the country, according to a statement by the Kuwaiti foreign ministry posted on X.

On August 1, the United Kingdom also updated its travel advice for Lebanon, advising against “all but essential travel” to parts of Lebanon’s south near the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh.

Ongoing violence

Since July 29, at least 13 people have been killed and more than 60 injured in clashes between the mainstream faction Fatah and a hardline group in the camp, the largest of 12 Palestinian camps established in Lebanon in 1948 after Israel was created.

Fatah has accused the armed groups Jund al-Sham and al-Shabab al-Muslim of gunning down a Fatah military general, Abu Ashraf al-Armoushi, in the camp.

According to Maher Shabaita, the head of Fatah in the Sidon region, Palestinian factions in the camp have formed an investigative committee to find out who was responsible for al-Armoushi’s killing and will hand them over to the Lebanese judiciary for trial.

A ceasefire between the Palestinian groups in the camp was announced on July 31 under the mediation of Lebanese parties.

However, armed clashes continue to take place between the factions from time to time.​​​​​​​

According to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, Ein el-Hilweh hosts 80,000 to 250,000 refugees.

On Thursday, Dorothee Klaus – the director of UNRWA in Lebanon – said that 600 people displaced from the camp are staying in two of the agency’s schools, in Sidon and in another nearby camp, Mieh Mieh.

Source: News Agencies