Lebanese banks have to close indefinitely after the liquidation of holdups

The shutdowns follow a series of holdups across the country in the past month, with at least five separate banks being held by depositors only last Friday in an attempt to recover savings frozen in the banking system.
Millions of Lebanese citizens have been locked out of their accounts after the country plunged into the financial crisis in October 2019. With local currency since losing 90% of its value, more than three quarters of the population has been driven into poverty and most are unable to pay for basic items.
In August, an armed man stormed a bank in the capital Beirut and threatened to kill hostages and himself if the bank did not allow him to withdraw money from his frozen account. Claiming that he needed the funds to pay his father’s medical expenses, Bassam Sheikh Hussein surrendered to the police after the bank gave him some of his savings.
After being encouraged by groups outside the bank, Hussein was hailed by many on social media as a national hero. One anonymous security source speculated to CNN that Hussein’s methods could be replicated by others.
Last Wednesday, a woman took $20,000 from her account after storming a bank with what she later claimed was a toy gun to fund her sister’s cancer treatment, according to state news.

Later that day, a gunman entered a bank in the mountain town of Aley and took some of his locked-up savings before handing himself in to authorities.

Lebanese army soldiers secure the premises near a bank in Beirut after a depositor stormed the branch demanding access to his money.

The five banks shut down on Friday included one incident in the southern city of Ghazieh, where a gunman – who had poured petrol on the bank’s floor – threatened to burn down the building if no entry got his money, state news agency NNA reports.

He withdrew $19,200 and passed the money to someone waiting for him outside the branch before turning himself in to authorities, NNA said.