Beirut: The United Arab Emirates will expel 70 Lebanese nationals, mostly Shiite Muslims, within the next 24 hours, Lebanese officials said on Friday.
"The ministry of foreign affairs was informed by the Lebanese embassy in the Emirates that 70 Lebanese will be deported by the authorities in the next 24 hours," Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil told AFP.
He was unable to give a reason for the expulsions.
Sixty-three of those to be deported are Shiite, according to another senior Lebanese official who did not want to be named.
An official in the UAE, which hosts more than 100,000 Lebanese workers, declined to comment.
In 2009, dozens of Lebanese Shiites who had lived in the UAE for years were expelled on suspicion of links with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement supported by Iran and opposed by Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies.
In 2013, Qatar deported 18 Lebanese nationals after the Gulf Cooperation Council decided to impose sanctions against Hezbollah for its military intervention in war-torn Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.
The UAE was criticised by Sunni Islamists for not including Lebanese Hezbollah on a list of 83 "terrorist" organisations it published in November.