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Hailed by some as hero, Lebanese man turns self in after hostage standoff at bank

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11.08.2022

BEIRUT (AP) — A gunman demanding a Beirut bank let him withdraw his trapped savings to pay his father’s medical bills took up to 10 people hostage in a seven-hour standoff Thursday before surrendering in exchange for what a family lawyer said was $35,000 of his own money.

Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein, a 42-year-old food-delivery driver, was promptly arrested and taken away by police as he walked out of the bank. No one was injured.

Hussein’s wife, Mariam Chehadi, who was standing outside, told reporters that her husband “did what he had to do.”

The hostage drama in the city’s bustling Hamra district was the latest painful episode in Lebanon’s economic free-fall, now in its third year. Since 2019, the country’s cash-strapped banks have slapped strict limits on withdrawals of foreign currency assets, tying up the savings of millions of people.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside during the standoff, chanting slogans against the Lebanese government and banks and hoping that the gunman would get his money. Some bystanders hailed him as a hero.

Authorities said Hussein entered the bank with a shotgun and a canister of........

© The Times of Israel


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