Lebanese prime minister resigns, saying his life in danger

FILE PHOTO - Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri presides a cabinet meeting at the governmental palace in Beirut
FILE PHOTO – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri presides a cabinet meeting at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

November 4, 2017

By Angus McDowall

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on Saturday, saying in a televised broadcast he sensed a plot to target his life and criticizing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

“We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of (his father the late prime minister) martyr Rafik al-Hariri. I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life,” he said.

In his statement, Hariri said Iran was “losing in its interference in the affairs of the Arab world”, adding that Lebanon would “rise as it had done in the past” and “cut off the hands that wickedly extend into it”.

Hariri became Lebanon’s prime minister late last year after a political deal that also brought Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun to office as the country’s president.

Hezbollah is politically dominant in Lebanon, but its ties to Iran and its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have angered some Lebanese.

Hariri has visited Saudi Arabia, a political foe of Iran and Hezbollah, twice in the past week, meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior officials.

Beirut-based al-Jadeed television reported Hariri’s resignation statement was made and broadcast from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; editing by Alexander Smith)

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