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Sali Hafiz: Woman robs $13K from her own bank account with toy gun to pay for sister's cancer treatment

Hafiz also sold many of her personal belongings to fund the cancer treatment of her 23-year-old sister and is also considering selling her kidney
Sali Hafiz and her accomplices robbed a bank with a toy gun in Beirut, Lebanon (Screenshot from Global News/YouTube and Sali Hafiz/Facebook)
Sali Hafiz and her accomplices robbed a bank with a toy gun in Beirut, Lebanon (Screenshot from Global News/YouTube and Sali Hafiz/Facebook)

BEIRUT, LEBANON: A female activist, 28, allegedly robbed a bank in Beirut with a toy gun as she walked away with thousands of dollars from the money her family had deposited to pay for her sister's cancer treatment amid Lebanon's economic collapse.

Sali Hafiz said she managed to free around $13,000 from the $20,000 her family had deposited at the bank. Hafiz, who live-streamed the heist from a Beirut branch of Blom Bank, could be heard asking the bank employee to release a sum of money before she jumped on the table holding a gun and saying "I did not come to kill anyone or start a fire. I came to claim my rights."


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"I am Sali Hafiz, I came today... to take the deposits of my sister who is dying in the hospital," she said in the video while her suspected accomplices sealed the bank door. Hafiz, whose sister's cancer treatment costs $50,000, was infuriated Hafiz as she claimed she has repeatedly visited the bank several times for her money but she could only get $200 per month in Lebanese pounds.

After Lebanon's economic collapse crisis in 2019, bank deposits have been frozen for three years by the government, thus resulting in many customers taking matters into their own hands and this would not be the last of such incidents.

Hafiz, who is also an interior designer, told the local media that she used her nephew's toy pistol for the heist. Daily Mail reported that gasoline was infused everywhere inside the bank.

A bank customer named Nadine Nakhal said, "The intruders doused gasoline everywhere and took out a lighter and threatened to light it." The customer also said the woman with the pistol threatened to shoot the manager if he did not release her money.

Hafiz said in the interview that she has sold many of her personal belongings to fund the treatment of her 23-year-old sister suffering from cancer and is also considering selling her kidney. Hafiz, who instantly turned into a hero on social media in Lebanon, said, "I had begged the branch manager before for my money, and I told him my sister was dying, didn't have much time left. I reached a point where I had nothing else to lose."

Lebanon's economy has contracted by nearly 60 percent since 2019, with the Lebanese lira declining by 90 percent in value in the years. Lebanon's National Government Debt reached $97.8 billion in June 2021. Hence about three-quarters of the population has been pushed into severe poverty. Hafiz and her suspected accomplices managed to escape through a smashed window out the back of the bank before the security forces arrived and were not apprehended.