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BANK HOLDUP

Relatives of Thursday's armed depositor close road in protest, demanding his release

Relatives of Thursday's armed depositor close road in protest, demanding his release

Security forces in riot gear outside the scene where a depositor took hostage of people in Hamra's Federal Bank, demanding access to his funds. (Credit: João Sousa/L'Orient Today)

BEIRUT — Relatives of Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, who on Thursday took Federal Bank employees and customers hostage in Hamra to get his blocked money, cut off the road from the Ouzai suburb south of Beirut on Friday morning to protest his arrest. Deputy Mayor of Hussein’s village Aitaroun, Ali Hijazi, told L’Orient Today that Hussein is known to be a calm and peaceful person who has never used weapons, let alone threatened others.

Hussein’s father has a critical medical condition, is partially handicapped, and is under the care of his children as he is frequently admitted in and out of the hospital, he said.

Fouad Debs, a lawyer with the Depositors Union, told L’Orient Today that Hussein is still being held for investigation, and it’s expected that he will be “released next week,” even though “he was told during the negotiations that if he surrenders, he would be released on the same day.”

Hussein had held for hours, under the threat of his weapon, employees and customers of the Federal Bank, while a campaign in solidarity with him was organized outside.

He had doused fuel around the bank and threatened to set himself and the bank on fire if he did not get his $210,000, but eventually struck a deal with the bank to collect some of his funds before being arrested by the police.

Hussein surrendered to the security forces after reaching an agreement that the bank would pay him between $30,000 and $35,000, an ISF source said Thursday.

Last January, a client had taken hostage dozens of employees and people in a bank in Bekaa who refused to pay him his money. The man, who had finally won his case, had surrendered to the police, without any casualties being reported.


BEIRUT — Relatives of Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, who on Thursday took Federal Bank employees and customers hostage in Hamra to get his blocked money, cut off the road from the Ouzai suburb south of Beirut on Friday morning to protest his arrest. Deputy Mayor of Hussein’s village Aitaroun, Ali Hijazi, told L’Orient Today that Hussein is known to be a calm and peaceful person who has never...