Woman uses toy gun to rob bank and steal her own money for sisters cancer care
A woman burst into a bank with a toy gun in a bid to steal £11,000 ($13,000) of her own money to pay for her sister's cancer treatment.
Sali Hafiz made the desperate decision to access her savings at the bank in Lebanon, where withdrawals in the country are limited to $200-$400 a month.
The Middle Eastern country continues to suffer an economic crisis, which has sparked campaigners to act following years of turmoil.
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Earlier this month, the UN warned that nearly three-quarters of people in Lebanon have been pushed into poverty, reports The Mirror.
Hafiz took matters into her own hands by leaping onto the counter of a bank in the capital Beirut and demanding her savings, assisted by men from a group described as 'Depositors Outcry Association'.
A video of the incident quickly went viral on social media in Lebanon, showing Hafiz brandishing a pistol as her accomplices argued with bank staff – who eventually begin counting banknotes and hand the bundle of US dollar bills to Hafiz.
Vice reports that Hafiz live-streamed the video on Facebook, saying: “I did not break into the bank to kill anyone or set the place on fire.
“I am here to get my rights.”
Hafiz later interviewed with Al Jadeed News in which she claimed that her gun was actually a plastic toy she had borrowed from her nephew.
She added that her sister's medical bills for cancer treatment had left her with little choice, because the bank had previously advised that she was not entitled to more than a $200 monthly allowance.
It is understood that Hafiz has not yet been arrested by Lebanese security forces, although state-run news agency National News Agency of Lebanon said she had doused herself in gasoline and threatened to set herself alight if staff refused to give her $20,000 from her savings.
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The incident is the latest in a string of hostage-taking situations in Lebanon, where bank staff are regularly threatened with violence by people desperate to access their own money.
Last month Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein held up a Beirut bank because he wanted $35,000 to pay for his father's cancer treatment.
He was subsequently hailed a local hero after a siege lasting several hours in which he threatened staff with a rifle and gasoline and, although he was arrested, criminal charges were never brought.
Hafiz said on her personal Facebook account after the siege that she planned to go to Turkey.
She wrote: “The whole government is under my house, and I’m at the airport, see you all in Istanbul, Ciao!”
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