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Bachar Bzeih 03 Nov 2022

Lebanon’s First Overnight Bank Hold Up Ends At Credit Libanais Hazmieh

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported this morning that the four individuals involved in holding up Credit Libanais’ Hazmieh branch were arrested by security forces. The hold up, which started around noon on Wednesday and ended early this morning, is one of the longest Lebanon has witnessed since the start of these hold ups.

The three depositors, Ibrahim Baydoun, Ali El Sahili, and Catherine El Ali, were arrested alongside lawyer Rami Oleik. They had managed to secure $55,000 from a combined $195,000 worth of frozen funs and refused to leave the bank until they received guarantees that they would not be arrested. The group was armed with a gun and a gasoline canister and held the entire branch’s employees hostage.

Sahili had previously been involved with a foiled hold up at BLC Bank Chtoura in early October. At that time, it was reported that he had considered selling his kidneys. His son, who is residing in Ukraine, was forced out of his university and his house due to their inability to pay dues.

On Wednesday night, MP Yassin Yassin arrived at the scene in an attempt to mediate a resolution between the depositors and the security forces but failed. Security forces and the judicial system have implemented tougher punishments to try and curb this trend of bank hold ups.

After almost 20 hours at the bank, the depositors eventually surrendered to the police at the scene. Those held hostage were then escorted out safely and allowed to go back home. It is unclear what led to their surrender and what fate awaits the depositors. They are currently being held at the Baabda courthouse.