ISRAEL (Tel-Aviv)—A Palestinian who broke into the Turkish Embassy in Israel trying to take hostages and demanding asylum was turned over to Israeli authorities Tuesday night, ending a tense standoff.
The attacker, identified by an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman as Nadim Injaz, climbed to the first story of the embassy in Tel Aviv and forced his way into the building, armed with a knife, a jerry can and a toy gun, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in Ankara. No one from the embassy was hurt.
Israeli police said Injaz, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Ramallah, was recently released from prison after serving time for an attacking a British Embassy four years ago also in effort to seek asylum.
Seven hours after he forced his way into the embassy, the attacker was escorted out of the embassy late Tuesday and taken into an Israeli ambulance. Wearing a light blue shirt and limping slightly from an apparent gunshot wound, he raised his arms briefly and shouted before Israeli police and paramedics subdued him.
Channel 2 TV played a recording of a phone call it said came from the attacker. “I have two hostages,” he said in Hebrew. “I will blow up the embassy. If they don’t let me leave this country now I will burn down the whole building. I will burn everything. I will burn the cars, the doors I will break down the doors. I will break everything.”
Late Tuesday, the Turkish government said it had the situation in hand. “Our embassy guards neutralized the individual as he tried to take the vice consul as hostage after shouting around for asylum,” a Turkish statement said, adding that the man was armed with a knife, a gasoline can and a gun that turned out to be a toy.
Injaz said he admired Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I love him and I respect him,” he said. The Turkish leader “should give me political asylum against these murderers the Zionists, the murdering Jews,” he added, linking the incident indirectly to recent tensions between Israel and Turkey.
Injaz’s lawyer, Avital Horev, said his client was a former member of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency. Horev said Injaz was also wanted by the Palestinian authorities.
Medical sources said he had been shot in the leg and sustained light wounds, after which he was taken to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital. “I saw my client in the hospital during the night,” Horev told public radio. “During the 1990s and the early part of this decade, he stopped Palestinian attacks, saving many lives of both soldiers and Israeli citizens, but the Shin Bet, from whom he asked for protection, refused to recognize their responsibility towards him,” he said.
However, Shin Bet denied having anything to do with Injaz. “Nadim Injaz never worked for us and his case is being dealt with by the police,” a Shin Bet spokesman told AFP.
The failed attempt to seek asylum arose from a threat that would be posed on Injaz’s life if he were to return to the Palestinian territories, his lawyer claimed. “The Palestinian Authority has signed a death warrant against Nadim Injaz,” said Horev. Horev also claimed that his client had been released from an Israeli jail only three weeks ago after serving time for theft and staying in Israel illegally. Palestinian security officials contacted by AFP denied knowing anyone of that name from Ramallah.
Israel-Turkey relations have been strained over the May 31 Israeli attack on an international flotilla that was trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. The raid killed eight Turks and one American citizen of Turkish descent who were among hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on board boats carrying aid. Many Palestinians have expressed support for Turkey in the aftermath.
In London, the British Foreign Office confirmed in a statement that the attacker was the same one involved in the 2006 British Embassy incident. Around the time of the first attack, police said Injaz was an informant and a criminal with a record of property and drug offenses who had run into financial and legal troubles.
Injaz told an Israeli TV station in 2006 that he feared he would be killed by Palestinian militants if he returned to the West Ba