Bahrain expels Lebanese Shias for alleged links to Hizballah
Bahrain has deported several Lebanese expatriates for their alleged affiliation to militant group Hizballah, with authorities giving them just 24-hours' notice to pack their bags.
"Several Lebanese residents were expelled after proven to have links to, or supporting the terrorist Hizballah [group]," Bahrain's interior ministry said in a tweet on Monday.
The ministry did not provide any further details, or say how many people had been deported.
Lebanese press reported last week that up to ten families had been ordered to leave Bahrain within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, three Lebanese citizens are also due to stand trial in the Abu Dhabi on Monday for allegedly forming a Hizballah cell in the UAE.
There were also similar uncofirmed reports indicating Saudi Arabia had expelled a number of Lebanese families.
The move comes a day after Bahrain's neighbour Saudi Arabia warned that it will punish citizens and residents who "support or demonstrate belonging" to Hizballah.
The Arab League on Friday declared Iran ally Hizballah a "terrorist" group, after Gulf monarchies did the same earlier this month over the movement's support for the regime in Syria's war.
|The move comes a day after Bahrain's neighbour Saudi Arabia warned that it will punish citizens and residents who "support or demonstrate belonging" to Hizballah.
In January, Bahrain said it had dismantled a "terror" cell allegedly linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.
Shia-majority Bahrain, which is ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty, has repeatedly accused Iran of meddling in its affairs, a charge categorically denied by Tehran.
No prior notification
Three Lebanese families were summoned by the security services in Bahrain and were given an ultimatum to leave without being offered any time to wrap up their affairs, said Al-Akhbar newspaper.
"We arrived at the security centre and found a queue of women who were summoned for questioning, most of whom were Shia," a female resident in Bahrain told the newspaper.
|The Lebanese embassy in Bahrain has reportedly advised the Lebanese to cooperate with the authorities.
She continued: "After two and a half hours in questioning we were told that we are no longer wanted here. It doesn't matter if our [residency] papers are legal or not."
She said the Lebanese were asked about their religion, the parties that they support or were affiliated to and asked for information about their compatriots.
The Lebanese embassy in Bahrain has reportedly advised the Lebanese to cooperate with the authorities.
Agencies contributed to this story.