One client held hostages in Beirut banks, alleging that she had lost her frozen funds.
On Wednesday, a Lebanese woman took hostages from Blom Bank in central Beirut, claiming that the gun was a toy. She demanded her money be withdrawn from a bank account she had frozen. It is the second hostage situation in less than two months as the country’s banking crisis has left many people without access to their own cash.
Due to a shortage of foreign currency, banks are refusing to issue money from citizens’ deposits in ‘hard’ currency, instead offering clients Lebanese pounds at a rate significantly lower than the ‘black market’ rates.
Social media images and videos show multiple people entering the bank. Sali Hafiz was later identified as the woman who pulled out a gun to take hostages. Witnesses included an AFP photographer said that Hafiz, along with other intruders, also diduse gasoline and threatened the bank.
BEIRUT: A video of another Bank today – citizen Sally Hafez threatened to take hostages bank workers with a fake gun to obtain her money to help her sister who is fighting cancer. According to reports, she was able to get $13,000 pic.twitter.com/2aIOnSXxo7
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) September 14, 2022
Hafiz streamed a portion of the raid live via YouTube. Hafiz claimed she was not participating in the raid as she said so on video. “to kill anyone or set the place on fire”she was at the bank to fight for her rights and help her dying sister.
Hafiz was the only one who managed to escape, despite the fact that several of the raiders were being detained at the spot by the police. Following the incident, she spoke to Al-Jadeed TV about how she managed to withdraw $12,000 plus 1,000 Lebanese Pounds from her $20,000. According to the 28-year-old, she also said that the gun that she used was a gift from her nephew.
Hafiz posted on Facebook an hour after storming the bank to announce that she was at the airport. “The whole state is at my house while I’m at the airport. See you all in Istanbul!”She wrote. She wrote. Unconfirmed accounts say she was taken into custody shortly after the posting.
Reuters received confirmation from a source within the Depositors Outcry group that the group had taken responsibility.
A man was held hostage by employees of a Beirut bank, for many hours in August. He was trying to steal $35,000 worth of savings. The bank eventually dropped all charges.
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