BEIRUT — The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) announced Thursday that banks will resume strict "precautionary measures" starting on Friday, following a series of bank hold-ups in recent days.
Earlier in the day Thursday, two depositors failed to retrieve their savings after holding up a branch of Byblos Bank in Sin al-Fil, east of Beirut.
"The Association of Banks in Lebanon strictly condemns what the banks are experiencing of systematic attacks for days. It also condemns the inaction of the state and its institutions against these attacks," ABL said in a statement.
The association said "it is forced to return to precautionary and strict measures starting Friday," and extending until further notice.
ABL did not specify the measures in question.
"Banks will continue to provide minimal services inside the branches and in ATMs with the potential of the closure of some of the branches in a temporary matter, in case of emergency," the statement added.
Thursday's bank hold-up came just two days after two depositors, one of whom was armed with a grenade, recovered some of their savings from a bank in Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon, and another in Shehim, in the Chouf.
On Monday, a depositor, accompanied by his 13-year-old son, also held up a branch of Bank Al-Mawarid in Antelias, on the Metn coast, and managed to recover his savings of $15,000.
Last week, a depositor in his 60s managed to obtain his entire savings of $6,500 after staging a short sit-in at the downtown Beirut branch of Banque Misr Liban and threatening employees with a bottle of an unidentified liquid.
Following these bank holdups, ABL on Tuesday threatened to re-adopt precautionary measures, including a weekslong strike.
Last September, commercial banks reopened with heightened security measures after several weeks of closure in response to a wave of holdups. ABL has called for several strikes since then, asking for a capital control law to regulate withdrawals and decrying judicial rulings that ordered payouts to depositors.