Al-Arabiya shuts down Lebanon operation amid tensions

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.