An armed man entered the Federal Bank of Lebanon in Hamra on Thursday before noon and held a number of employees and clients hostage.
The man has been identified as 42-year-old Bassem Sheikh Hussein who has a deposit of $210,000 at the bank, according to Al-Jadeed. His brother also has $500,000 in the bank.
According to Aljazeera, Hussein fired three shots. He was also heard telling the hostages: “Let them give me back my money!”
Hussein has also sprayed the bank with gasoline, said a spokesperson of the Lebanese Army.
An official told Aljazeera that approximately six or seven employees are being held hostages.
Security forces later entered the building and attempted to negotiate with Hussein, telling him to release at least one hostage.
“The father of the armed depositor is in the hospital and needs $50,000 worth of treatment,” said the Lebanese Depositors Association.
Many depositors arrived on the scene to stand in solidarity with Hussein.
Lebanon’s economy has significantly deteriorated within the last three years due to the devaluation of the Lebanese Lira, and the rapid rise of inflation.
The Lebanese Banks have implemented strict restrictions regarding the withdrawal of cash. The black market rate of the Lebanese Lira is currently over 30,000LL, while banks are allowing depositors to withdraw money at the rate of 8,000LL.