BEIRUT — An armed depositor who stormed a bank in Nabatieh in southern Lebanon on Tuesday to demand access to part of his $250,000 deposit handed himself over to the Internal Security Forces in the afternoon, a source at the ISF told L'Orient Today.
The source also said that details on whether the depositor managed to obtain the funds he was seeking and whether he will stay in custody is not known yet. The depositor reportedly demanded $50,000 of his own money to treat his two children who have diabetes.
The depositor forcefully entered the bank with a weapon in hand, reportedly driving the other clients out, according to a local source in touch with the man's son, who was standing outside the bank.
The incident comes several hours after another man fired a small gun at the entrance of a bank in Saida, police officials and others told L'Orient Today.
The man in Saida, reportedly a retired soldier, approached the BLOM Bank branch and fired on a window because he was unable to access services, a police source told L'Orient Today.
A BLOM Bank official told L'Orient Today the man was not a client of the bank.
A statement falsely attributed to the Association of Banks circulated Tuesday on social media claiming that banks will close for three days in response to the incidents. However, ABL head Fadi Khalaf told L'Orient Today that the banks will remain open.
In October, banks across Lebanon closed their doors following a series of holdups by depositors seeking to withdraw their own savings.
Banks have imposed illegal restrictions on customers since the start of the country's economic crisis in 2019, limiting withdrawals and transfers. Lebanon in recent months has witnessed a spate of bank holdups in which depositors burst into branches to claim their own savings, sometimes armed.
The holdups have prompted banks to close temporarily several times, before reopening with reinforced security measures and stricter protocols for how and when they receive clients.
Reporting contributed by Muntasser Abdallah.