x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

Saudi citizen kidnapped in Lebanon

Lebanon's state National News Agency named the man as Ali Al Bishrawi, 32, saying he had been lured from his home in the town of Adma, around six kilometres north of Jounieh, on Thursday night

A poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman (right) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) hang on a pedestrian crossing bridge in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli on November 10, 2017. A caption between their images reads: "Firm and moderating leadership." Joseph Eid / AFP
A poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman (right) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) hang on a pedestrian crossing bridge in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli on November 10, 2017. A caption between their images reads: "Firm and moderating leadership." Joseph Eid / AFP

A Saudi citizen has been kidnapped in Lebanon, the kingdom has said.

The Saudi embassy in Beirut was in contact with Lebanese security authorities "at the highest level" to secure the citizen's "unconditional" release, the state Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Friday, without providing further details.

The identity of the man and the circumstances of his kidnap were unclear on Saturday. Lebanon's state National News Agency named him as Ali Al Bishrawi, 32, saying he had been lured from his home in the town of Adma, around six kilometres north of Jounieh in the Mount Lebanon governorate's Keserwan district, on Thursday night.

It said the man's wife, a Syrian national, had filed a missing-person report on Friday morning after receiving an anonymous phone call demanding a ransom.

The Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya named the man as Abed Al Shamrawi, however, though it too said he was 32 and married to a Syrian woman. It said he was kidnapped near his home in Al Aqiba, also in Keserwan.

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The man originally hails from the Qatif region in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, Al Arabiya reported.

Earlier on Friday, SPA reported that the Saudi embassy's acting charges d'affaires, Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari, had met with the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun.

It comes as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain have advised their citizens against travelling to Lebanon as tensions escalate over the recent resignation of former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri. Mr Hariri announced his resignation from the kingdom on Saturday last week.

Following news of the kidnapping on Friday, the Lebanese interior minister held a series of meetings with Lebanon's security agencies, the state National News Agency reported.

Nohad Mashnouq said the safety and security of Arab and foreign citizens was a priority for the Lebanese authorities.

"Tampering with security and stability in Lebanon is a red line that must not be crossed. The security apparatuses have mobilised to avert any attempt to exploit the current political juncture to jolt security and threaten the safety of the Lebanese and the Arab and foreign nationals," he said, according to NNA.

Mr Mashnouq told Agence France-Presse that the kidnapping of the Saudi citizen was "in no way related" to the crisis over Mr Hariri's resignation or politics.