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Last Updated Monday January 22 2018 03:55 AM IST

At Beirut marathon, Lebanese call for PM to return

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At Beirut marathon, Lebanese call for PM to return Lebanon's prime minister Saad al-Hariri attends a general parliament discussion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2017. Reuters

Beirut: Runners taking part in Lebanon's annual marathon are urging prime minister Saad Hariri to return home after he resigned under mysterious circumstances during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Spectators along the 42.2 kilometer course held signs reading "Running for you" and "Waiting for you," addressed to the prime minister, who participated in past races.

Lebanese president Michel Aoun had encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return.

Hariri, a close Saudi ally, unexpectedly announced his resignation a week ago in a pre-recorded message broadcast on Saudi TV. Many Lebanese suspect he was placed under house arrest as part of a Saudi plan to wreck a coalition government he had formed with Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, in recent days.

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