In crisis-hit Lebanon, a man entered a bank in Beirut and held at least 10 people hostage demanding access to his own trapped money, according to The Washington Post. Videos of the police trying to calm the man down during Thursday’s incident are going viral on social media. The efforts of the police paid off and the man surrendered after a seven-hour-long standoff on the assurance of what his lawyer said was $35,000 of his money, the Post report further said.
The outlet identified the man as Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, a 42-year-old food-delivery driver. No one was injured in the incident and the man was arrested and taken away by the police.
His wife, Mariam Chehadi, who was standing outside, told reporters after his arrest that her husband “did what he had to do”, an Al Jazeera report said. Hussein needed the money for his father’s surgery.
Quoting local police, the outlet further said that Hussein entered the bank with a shotgun and a canister of petrol and threatened to set himself on fire unless he was allowed to take out his money. He also fired three warning shots.
Al Jazeera later spoke to the man’s lawyer who said Hussein hasn’t received any money. Local media reported he has about $200,000 stuck in the bank.
This is the latest incident of fight between local banks and angry depositors who are unable to access their saving accounts since the economic crisis began in Lebanon in 2019.
Lebanon’s cash-strapped government is struggling to afford fuel imports to feed its power plants, causing outages that last up to 22 hours a day in most parts of the country.