Saudi Arabia orders citizens to leave Lebanon immediately
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Saudi Arabia orders citizens to leave Lebanon immediately

Kingdom fears that Lebanese Shiites may continue kidnappings after clansmen in Lebanon said they took 20 Syrians hostage

A Lebanese Shiite Muslim blocks the street in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, to protest against Syrian rebels' kidnapping of 12 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in the Syrian northern province of Aleppo on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (photo credit: Bilal Hussein/AP)
A Lebanese Shiite Muslim blocks the street in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, to protest against Syrian rebels' kidnapping of 12 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in the Syrian northern province of Aleppo on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (photo credit: Bilal Hussein/AP)

BEIRUT (AP) — Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately, citing fear of kidnappings by Shiites angry over rebels in Syria taking prisoners from Lebanon and Iran.

The statement by the Saudi Embassy in Beirut was published on the official Saudi news agency Wednesday. It urges its citizens to leave immediately and warns travelers against visiting Lebanon, a popular destination for Gulf residents in the summer.

Armed Shiite clansmen in Lebanon said they took 20 Syrians as hostages until their relative seized by rebels in Syria is freed. Syria rebels claim to be holding a Lebanese man they accuse of being a member of Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese group allied with Syria and Iran.

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