Kuwaiti Husband And Wife Kidnapped In Lebanon

Couple abducted after Lebanese army steps up security as kidnap threats target Gulf visitors.

Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon said two nationals of the Gulf Arab state have been kidnapped in the Bekaa region, Kuwait News Agency reported on Saturday.

“The efforts to free two abducted Kuwaitis in Lebanon are ongoing and the embassy will do its best to bring them back,” ambassador Abdul-Aal al-Qana’ei was quoted as saying by KUNA.

He named the hostages as Issam al-Houti and his wife, whom he said were seized in Bekaa, and did not say which group was thought to be behind the abduction.

Lebanon’s army on Friday said it was stepping up security after a spate of kidnappings this week which targeted foreigners including Syrians and Turks.

A Lebanese security source said Lebanese authorities were aware of the kidnapping of a Kuwaiti man, not his wife. “There are no apparent political reasons for his kidnapping,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates this week advised their citizens to leave Lebanon because of spillover security risks from neighbouring Syria.

In May this year Bahrain and Kuwait issued similar warnings, urging their citizens not to travel to Lebanon citing security concerns as fighting prompted by sectarian tensions in neighbouring Syria had unsettled areas near a northern port.

The threat of kidnappings is believed to be in response to a strategy by the Syrian rebels to abduct those perceived to be supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Lebanon is a favourite destination for wealthy Gulf tourists who form the bulk of visitors to the country. Lebanon’s vital tourism industry has been hit hard by Syria’s unrest.