Saudi Arabia seeks extradition from Lebanon of man who threatened embassy

By Thomson Reuters Aug 30, 2022 | 4:29 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari said the kingdom is seeking the arrest and extradition from Lebanon of a Saudi man who threatened the kingdom’s embassy in Beirut last week.

“We call upon the competent Lebanese authorities to undertake the necessary legal procedures regarding the terrorist threats,” Bukhari said following a meeting with Lebanon’s interior minister.

Lebanese and Saudi authorities say the person behind the recorded threats was a Saudi man named Ali Hashem. Reuters could not independently confirm the information and was not able to contact the man.

Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi last week asked security forces to probe the recorded death threats out of “concern for Lebanon’s interest and security and good relations with brotherly nations, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Some Lebanese officials have tried to improve ties with Saudi Arabia, once a major donor, after years of tension over the growing influence in Lebanon of Hezbollah, which is classified by both Riyadh and the United States as a terrorist group.

Relations hit a low last year when Saudi Arabia banned imports of Lebanese goods over drug smuggling concerns and then recalled its ambassador after critical comments by a pro-Hezbollah minister. The ambassador has since returned.

Bukhari called on Lebanese security forces to continue cracking down on illicit drug smuggling to Saudi Arabia, noting the kingdom has seized 700 million narcotic pills and hundreds of kilos of hashish smuggled from or via Lebanon since 2015.

(Reporting by Timour Azhari; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)