With reporting from Peter Kovessy
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has called on all Qatari citizens to avoid visiting Lebanon.
In a statement last night, the ministry also asked Qatari citizens who are there to “leave for their own safety,” and to contact the embassy in Beirut if they need any help.
The development comes after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all told their citizens to leave Lebanon and avoid traveling there this week. Kuwait has also followed suit, according to Al Jazeera English.
Qatar did not give a reason for the directive, but tensions between the Gulf states and Lebanon have been rising in the past few weeks.
On Friday, Riyadh halted some $4 billion worth of military aid to Beirut, citing Lebanon’s “regrettable and unjustified” decision to not condemn Iran over last month’s attack on Saudi missions there.
The protests erupted after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shia cleric in early January.
According to news reports, the Iran resolution, proposed during an emergency meeting of Arab states, also classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah is thought to be helping keep Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in power, along with militias from Iran, Iraq and other nations, CNS News reports. It continues:
“In response to the Saudi announcement, Hezbollah said the entire world knows that the kingdom is undergoing financial difficulties, suggesting that was the real reason for its funding cut.”
A spokesperson from the Lebanese embassy in Doha declined to comment.