Lebanese Prime Minister resigns over fear for life

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while giving a lecture regarding Israel's foreign policy priorities at Chatham House The Royal Institute of International Affairs in Lond

Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns

"Lebanon is a fragile country".

The Lebanese economy and pound are not in danger following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Saturday, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Reuters.

"I have sensed what is being plotted covertly to target my life".

Hariri's personal security concerns appeared to gain little traction among the public.

"I declare my resignation from the premiership of the Lebanese government, with certainty that the will of the Lebanese is strong", Hariri said in an unexpected move in a televised statement he read from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Hariri's resignation topples a coalition government grouping almost all of Lebanon's main political parties.

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"Iran has a grip on the fate of the region's countries..."

Hazem al-Amin, a Lebanese writer who follows regional affairs, said Hariri's resignation is "completely a Saudi step" that comes in the context of an global and regional atmosphere against Hezbollah and against Iranian influence in the region.

"I want to say to Iran and its followers that they are losing in their interference in the affairs of the Arab world, our nation will rise up as it had done in the past and cut off the hands that wickedly extend into it in the same way it was forced back onto you in Bahrain and Yemen, it will be forced back onto you in all parts of our dear nation and the evil will return to its perpetrator, " Hariri said.

"In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli", he said, reading his speech from behind a desk.

It enjoys broad support from Iran and is the only Lebanese party to have kept its weapons after the 1975-1990 civil war.

The group claims it is the only credible rampart against neighbouring Israel, and its refusal to disarm is the main political crux in Lebanon.

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He served as prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and took office again in 2016.

Rafik al-Hariri was killed by a bomb in 2005 in an attack widely blamed on Hezbollah.

He made his fortune in Saudi Arabia, where his son Saad was born. It comes amid a sharp escalation in Saudi rhetoric against its regional archrival, Iran. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who was elected in October 2016 after more than two years of presidential vacuum, is a close ally of Hezbollah.

"We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri, "he said". The latter group facilitated the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005.

Walid Jumblatt, one of Lebanon's political heavyweights and the country's most prominent Druze leader, said Hariri's resignation could adversely affect a country already under huge strain.

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