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Al-Arabiya Shuts Beirut Office In Move Reflecting Saudi-Iran Tensions


The Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya shut its offices in Beirut and dismissed 27 employees in a sudden move reflecting tensions between Riyadh and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

The channel on April 1 cited employee safety as the reason for closing its office and that of its sister channel Al-Hadath. Some other Saudi news outlets in Beirut have been hit with protests recently.

Al-Arabiya, one of the main Arabic language broadcasters in the Middle East, said it will "continue to closely cover Lebanese affairs" and will help laid-off employees find jobs elsewhere.

The move reflects ongoing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran's allies. Last month, Riyadh cut $3 billion in military aid to Lebanon after the Lebanese government failed to condemn an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January.

The Sunni Gulf monarchy interpreted Lebanon's lack of public solidarity as a sign that it had become beholden to Hezbollah.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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