Woman storms Lebanon bank to take her own money

STORY: A woman who appeared to be armed and several associates stormed a bank in Lebanon on Wednesday (September 14), demanding $13,000 of her own money.

That's according to a source with an advocacy group for bank customers.

Lebanon’s financial crisis has been ongoing for three years - and is so bad, that banks have locked many customers out of their savings.

Much of the population is unable to pay for basic needs.

The woman was identified by her mother as Sali Hafiz. Before going into hiding, she told Lebanese television that it was a toy gun and that she needed to access her money in order to finance her sister’s cancer treatment.

"I have nothing more to lose, I got to the end of the road. Two days ago, I went to the branch manager and begged him, told him my sister is dying, she doesn't have time. After giving me a hard time, he finally said he can give us 200 USD a month at (the rate of) 12 million Lebanese pound, that will be 2,400,000 Lebanese pound which is not even the price of an injection that my sister needs to take daily."

"It is a shame to say this, but I got to a point where I was going to sell my kidney so that my sister could receive treatment, because what is the point of my life if I see her dying in front of my eyes without me doing anything."

A source at the advocacy group Depositors Outcry told Reuters that the group took responsibility for the incident at BLOM Bank in Beirut's Sodeco neighborhood.

This isn't isolated. On the same day, a man in the city of Aley also held up a bank to withdraw his own funds, before turning himself in to authorities, according to the advocacy group. Last month, a similar incident happened.

Bankmed declined to comment while BLOM Bank confirmed in a statement that the hostage situation had ended but did not give further details.