Saudi Arabia to 'punish' anyone affiliated with Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia says it will punish anyone linked to Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Hezbollah supporters hold the Hezbollah flag as they march through a street shouting slogans against the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al Nimr on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday said anyone who belongs to, sympathises with or supports Lebanon’s Iran-backed group Hezbollah, will be punished by the kingdom.

Under the kingdom’s anti-terror regulations, Saudi citizens and expatriates can be subjected to “severe penalties," whereas foreigners would be deported, an Interior Ministry statement carried by the state news agency SPA said.

Hezbollah, a militant group which wields influence in Lebanon and fights alongside the Assad regime in Syria, was labelled a terrorist organisation by Gulf Arab countries, leading to the move of the possibility of potential sanctions against the group.

"Any citizen or resident who supports, shows membership in the so-called Hezbollah, sympathises with it or promotes it, makes donations to it or communicates with it or harbours anyone belonging to it will be subject to the stiff punishments provided by the rules and orders, including the terrorism crimes and its financing," the statement said.

It also said foreigners working and living in the kingdom could face expulsion.

Iran, currently in diplomatic tension with Saudi Arabia, is believed to have close ties with Hezbollah, who has helped support the Bashar al Assad regime cling to power after five years of civil war in Syria.

Saudi Arabia had been accused by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for allegedly directing car bombings in Lebanon.

TRTWorld, Reuters