DRAMATIC footage shows the moment an armed woman stormed a bank to take £11,000 of her own money to fund her sister’s cancer treatment.
Sali Hafiz, 28, held hostages at a bank in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, as she live-streamed the robbery on Wednesday after the withdrawal was blocked.
The interior designer said she had repeatedly visited the city’s BLOM bank branch, but had been told she could only withdraw £170 a month amid a national financial meltdown.
Shocking footage shows Sali yelling at staff while her accomplices blocked the exits.
She shouted: “I am Sali Hafiz, I came today… to take the deposits of my sister who is dying in the hospital.
“I did not come to kill anyone or to start a fire. I came to claim my rights.”
An AFP correspondent at the scene said gasoline had been poured inside the bank during the heist, which lasted under an hour.
It is reported Sali threatened to shoot the manager if her money was not released.
Before going into hiding, she told local news channel Al Jaddeed TV the gun was a toy.
She said she needed the cash for her sister’s cancer treatment.
Sali added: “I have nothing more to lose, I got to the end of the road.
“I got to a point where I was going to sell my kidney so that my sister could receive treatment.”
Lebanon’s banks have locked most depositors out of their savings since an economic crisis took hold three years ago, leaving much of the population unable to pay for basics.
BLOM confirmed the customer had been in to seek her money for her sister’s treatment.
The company said she was offered total cooperation and requested to provide documentation.
Sali’s mother, Hiam Hafiz, said: “All we have is this money in the bank. My daughter was forced to take this money – it’s her right, it’s in her account – to treat her sister.”
Shortly after the incident, an armed man entered a branch of Bankmed in Lebanon’s mountain city of Aley.
He attempted to retrieve his trapped savings, the advocacy group Depositors Outcry and a security source told Reuters.
The security source said the man had been able to retrieve a portion of his money before he handed himself over to security forces and was detained.