Lebanese Woman Holds Up Bank To Access Frozen Savings As Anger Boils



A woman held staff hostage at a bank in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, demanding they let her withdraw frozen savings to pay for her sister’s medical bills.

She left the bank after reportedly being given $13,000 (£11,240). It is not clear if she has been arrested.

Later, a man held up a bank in Aley in a similar attempt to get his savings.

They were the latest such incidents in weeks, as anger boils over among Lebanese at restrictions imposed because of an economic crisis.

Withdrawals of hard currency have been limited for most people since 2019, when the value of the Lebanese pound plummeted and inflation soared.

The country is now in the midst of one of the most severe and prolonged depressions the world has seen, with more than 80% of the population living in poverty and struggling to afford food and medicine.

Wednesday’s hostage situation at the Blom Bank branch in Beirut’s Sodeco area lasted an hour.

During the incident the woman live-streamed a video of herself demanding access to her family’s savings.

After another woman tells her that they have been given the funds and a man holds a bag of US dollar bills, she is seen saying: “I am Sally Hafez. I came today… to take the deposits of my sister, who is dying in hospital.”

“I did not come to kill anyone or to start a fire… I came to claim my rights.”

The woman and her accomplices reportedly escaped through a window at the back of the bank before security forces arrived.

Later, a woman who said she was Sally Hafez’s mother told AlJadeed TV that she was forced to act because she needed to pay for her younger sister’s cancer treatment.

“If we hadn’t done this, my daughter could have died,” she said. [BBC]


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