Lebanese Army Denies Uncovering Any Plot to Assassinate Hariri

The leader of Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia had forced Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign, and called for calm and patience in Lebanon.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri gives a speech during the opening ceremony of the second "Kuwait Financial Forum" in Kuwait City on 31 October 2010.

In a televised address from Saudi Arabia, Hariri criticized Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, accusing Tehran of planting "sedition" and meddling in Arab affairs.

"Do not listen to alarmist speeches", Nasrallah said.

Hariri became prime minister in late 2016 in a coalition government that included the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, one of Saudi Arabia's chief detractors in the region. The nation was without a cohesive government and leadership for almost two years.

Nasrallah said he had thought things were going well and had not wanted Hariri to quit.

Hariri allies in Lebanon have denied suggestions that he had been detained. He is not believed to have returned to Lebanon.

"Hariri hoped that he could convince Iran on the part of Saudi Arabian officials to stop its opposition to the inhumane policies of Riyadh towards Yemen including conducting airstrikes against the innocent women and children and imposing siege on the impoverished nation which is suffering from lack of food and medicines".

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh sought to calm fears the political turmoil would hit Lebanon's already fragile economy, issuing a statement to reaffirm the stability of its currency, which is pegged against the US dollar. Hariri is Lebanon's most influential Sunni politician.

The country's political divisions led to the assassination of Hariri's father Rafik in 2005. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by a number of countries including the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

A Saudi minister said on Saturday that Hariri's personal security detail had "confirmed information" about the plot.

The sudden resignation could throw Lebanon's government back into crisis.