Palestinian held after attack on Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv

By Sheera Frenkel
McClatchy Newspapers

JERUSALEM – A man reportedly threatened Tuesday night to kill himself and several hostages at the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv before security personnel overpowered and captured him.

Nadim Injaz, a resident of the West Bank town of Ramallah, allegedly threatened to burn down the embassy if he didn’t receive asylum abroad. He reportedly was injured during the incident.

Injaz staged a similar event in 2006, when he scaled the wall of the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and held off Israeli police with a plastic toy gun in a six-hour standoff. Israeli police said he’d been released from prison recently.

A statement from the Turkish Embassy charged that Injaz had climbed the first story of the mission in Tel Aviv and entered the building after smashing a window.

He “began shouting about wanting asylum and attempted to take the deputy consul hostage before being overpowered by the embassy’s security staff,” according to the statement. “The person is being questioned by our side and an in-depth inquiry is being carried out into the incident.”

Witnesses said that Injaz had entered the building carrying what appeared to be a weapon. He said he had a flammable liquid and threatened, “I will kill any Jew that enters,” they said.

Nobody from the embassy was injured, the statement said. A lawyer from the embassy said earlier that the Turkish consul and his wife had escaped with the help of security personnel.

Israeli police wouldn’t confirm the sequence of events at the embassy, saying that the event was ongoing.

Israeli security personnel weren’t allowed to enter the building. Diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained since Israel’s attack May 31 on an aid flotilla that was trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine Turkish citizens died in the raid, and Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv after the attack.