An employee of the Saudi Arabian flag carrier Saudia was kidnapped in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Sunday shortly after leaving a restaurant. Hours before the man was recovered, Lebanon’s interior minister said security forces would wield an “iron fist” to hunt down his kidnappers.
In an official statement posted by Saudi Arabia’s official government-run news agency, the country’s embassy in Beirut said that it had been talking with local officials in Lebanon, and security forces had been put at their “highest levels” of alert.
The man, who has been identified as Mashari al-Mutair, was seized at around 2:45 pm on Sunday. It remains unclear whether the kidnapping was politically motivated or perpetuated by criminals looking to earn a ransom for returning the victim to this family.
Saudi Arabian media reported, however, that the victim had been seized while leaving a restaurant and had been taken to the Bekaa Valley, which is a safe haven for Hezbollah militias.
Kidnapping has, in recent years, become a source of money raising for Hezbollah, and it has been reported that kidnappers have asked for $400,000 to release the Saudia employee.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.