Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates urged its citizens on Saturday to avoid travel to Lebanon, where clashes linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria have left 10 people dead.
The three Gulf states’ foreign ministries urged all those already in Lebanon - a favorite destination for wealthy Gulf tourists - to leave because of the “security situation” in the country, the official news agencies BNA, QNA and WAM reported.
“The UAE foreign ministry has urged citizens not to travel to Lebanon until the tense security situation there is cleared,” according to a statement carried on WAM.
Tourists from Gulf states form the bulk of the wealthy visitors to Lebanon, whose vital tourism industry has been hit hard by unrest in neighboring Syria.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon last month warned Saudis to stay away from Lebanon’s border areas, after two Saudi citizens were kidnapped and tortured for eight days, before being freed in a joint Saudi-Lebanese operation.
Tension between the Sunni and Alawite communities in Tripoli has been fueled by the uprising and the arrival in the area of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country.
Clashes broke out last weekend after the arrest of a Sunni Islamist on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization. His supporters say he was targeted for helping Syrian refugees.
Since the outbreak of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, Tripoli has become a safe haven for activists and thousands of refugees.
The Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs and which has controlled Syrian politics for decades.