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 Western intelligence agencies warned former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri of an assassination plot against him, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on 5 Nov. 2017. Asharq al-Awsat reported that the sources "revealed that he had received Western warnings of an assassination attempt that was prepared against him". Hariri announced his surprise resignation the previous day, citing a plot to kill him, and saying the climate in Lebanon resembled that before the assassination of his father Rafik al-Hariri, who was also prime minister, in 2005. He criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah for their role in Lebanon and other Arab countries. Hariri travelled to Riyadh on 4 Nov. 2017 and did not return to Lebanon. His resignation was made in a televised statement from an undisclosed location. Saudi Arabia is an arch rival of Iran. Asharq al-Awsat reported unnamed sources as speculating that Hariri would remain outside Lebanon because of the security threat against him. (J.Post)

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