Armed Client Takes Hostages Lebanon Bank Staff To Free Trapped Savings

An armed customer has taken hostage bank staff in Lebanon’s capital city Beirut, demanding the withdrawal of his trapped savings.

The man, identified as 42-year-old Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, entered the bank in Hamra district and reportedly took seven or eight workers hostage.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Hussein threatened to set himself ablaze and also poured gasoline all over the bank. Security forces said that the gunman has so far fired three warning shots and demanded savings worth more than $200,000.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that the man “threatened to set himself on fire and to kill everyone in the branch.”

NNA said that negotiations are underway with the armed depositor at the Hamra-based Federal Bank to give him an amount of $30,000 from his deposit. However, he refused the offer, insisting on collecting his entire deposit.

His brother Atef al-Cheikh Hussein told local journalists that his brother has a savings of $210,000 in the bank, and he wanted to withdraw just $5,500 to pay hospital bills.

The incident is the latest as the local banks implement strict withdrawal on foreign currency following the economic collapse in 2019.

Lebanon has been going through its worst economic crisis with the value of the Lebanese pound already declined by more than 90% against US dollar.

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