Middle East

Al-Arabiya shuts down Lebanon operation amid tensions

  • A Lebanese employee who works at Al-Arabiya channel, is seen through the main gate of the channel stands at her door office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016.  Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. The Arabic logo on the main gate reads:"Al-Arabiya." (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    A Lebanese employee who works at Al-Arabiya channel, is seen through the main gate of the channel stands at her door office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016. Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. The Arabic logo on the main gate reads:"Al-Arabiya." (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lebanese cameramen and reporter who work at Al-Arabiya channel, stand at the entrance of their office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016.  Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Lebanese cameramen and reporter who work at Al-Arabiya channel, stand at the entrance of their office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016. Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lebanese employees who work at Al-Arabiya channel stand at their corridor office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016.  Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. The Arabic word on the main gate reads:"Al-Arabiya." (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Lebanese employees who work at Al-Arabiya channel stand at their corridor office, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, April 1, 2016. Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut. Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to Lebanon in retaliation for the country’s siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom’s spat with the Shiite powerhouse. The Arabic word on the main gate reads:"Al-Arabiya." (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

Beirut-based employees of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel say the station has decided to shut down its Lebanon operation amid tensions between Riyadh and Beirut.

Beirut correspondent Adnan Ghamloush says the decision to shut down "for security reasons" was communicated to staff Friday through a lawyer, and puts 27 employees out of work.

He declined to give other details and the nature of the security threat is unclear.

Al Arabiya, which is affiliated with the MBC group, provoked protests by Hezbollah supporters in February after the channel broadcast a comedy skit mocking the Hezbollah leader.

Saudi Arabia has halted deals worth $4 billion for Lebanon and warned its citizens against travel to the country in retaliation for Lebanon's siding with Iran amid the Sunni kingdom's spat with the Shiite powerhouse.