A depositor frees a $20,000 deposit in a Lebanese bank after taking hostages

A depositor managed to release a deposit of $20,000 with BLOM Bank (Blom Bank) in Sodeco, downtown Beirut, after a hostage-taking operation on Wednesday, according to the Lebanese News Agency.

The Depositors Association, a non-governmental body, reported that depositors stormed a branch of BLOM Bank, while a depositor managed to enter the branch. Video clips published by the association, which called the depositor a “hero”, showed that she was carrying a weapon and standing at a table inside the bank.

Lebanon has been witnessing a stifling economic and financial crisis for more than two years, which led to the deterioration of the lira and the erosion of the Central Bank of Lebanon’s foreign currency reserves, while the Central Bank of Lebanon imposes restrictions on withdrawing deposits in local and foreign currencies.

The association and the official agency said that the deposit was liberated by force, while the association stated that the wounded had fallen due to clashes with the security forces. The official agency said that the depositor threw gasoline on herself and threatened to set herself on fire, if she did not hand over her deposit, which she said she needs to treat her sick sister.

Last August, a 42-year-old armed depositor took hostages at the Lebanese Federal Bank branch in the famous Hamra area in Beirut, demanding the withdrawal of his deposit. The hostages were released after an agreement was reached to give him $30,000 out of his deposit, which is approximately $210,000.

(Prepared by: Shaima Hefzy, Editing: Yasmine Saleh, contact [email protected])

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