Lebanese army says Saudi citizen kidnapped in Beirut released after ‘special operation’

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese troops rescued a Saudi citizen abducted over the weekend in Beirut, the military said Tuesday. The man was reportedly held for ransom.

According to a statement from the Lebanese army, Mushari al-Mutairi was released during a “special operation” along the Lebanese-Syrian border, where the kidnappers held him hostage. He gave no further details.

Al-Mutairi was abducted after midnight Saturday in Beirut.

Saudi state broadcaster Al-Ekhbariya said the kidnappers demanded a $400,000 ransom for al-Mutairi, who works for Saudi national airline Saudia.

Interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in comments released by his office that the government was determined to ensure the safety of its citizens as well as foreigners.

Local Lebanese media reported that al-Mutairi was freed in an operation carried out by the army’s intelligence division in the northeastern district of Hermel.

Mikati praised the army for the success of the operation and called on Arab tourists to visit the crisis-hit country, adding that Lebanon will not be used for any attacks against Arab countries.

Lebanon has been facing a crippling economic crisis since 2019. Three-quarters of its 6 million people have fallen into poverty.

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