Saudi king "very worried" about Lebanon unrest

King Abdullah expresses concern as Lebanon descends into violent infighting
Saudi monarch King Abdullah.
By Sara Anabtawi
Wed 23 May 2012 11:26 AM

Saudi Arabia's supreme ruler King Abdullah has said that he is "very worried" about a recent wave of violent unrest that has hit Lebanon.

In a publicised letter to Lebanese President Michael Sleiman, the Sunni Gulf kingdom's monarch wrote: "Saudi Arabia is very worried over the recent developments and the incidents in [Lebanon's northern city of] Tripoli, especially the targeting of a major sect in the country’s social fabric."

Over the last two weeks, northern Lebanon has witnessed an outbreak of clashes between Sunni Muslims and the Shia Alawite minority.

The country's Alawites belong to the same sect as Bashar Al-Assad, president of neighbouring Syria.

Tensions in the country simmered over again this week after the shooting of a prominent Sunni cleric and his associate by Lebanese security forces.

Violence between pro and anti-Syrian groups in Beirut left two people dead and 18 injured early Monday, sparking concerns the conflict in Syria is spilling across the border into Lebanon.

Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait have issued warnings against travel to Lebanon following a week of violence in parts of Tripoli.

The US Embassy in Lebanon has also issued a warning to its citizens in the country to avoid public areas and exercise caution. 

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