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.
Israeli Foreign Ministry officials were negotiating with ambulance workers late Tuesday to allow medical treatment for the attacker and for his removal from the embassy grounds.
Shafi Abuani, a local lawyer who said he'd been in touch with Injaz over the last several years, said that Injaz had sounded "increasingly desperate" in recent weeks.
Abuani reportedly recorded a telephone call Tuesday with Injaz, who has a reputation of contacting the news media to garner attention, in which Injaz said he'd "burn down" the Turkish Embassy if he weren't granted asylum.
"If they don't let me leave this country now, I will burn down the whole building," a man identified as Injaz says during the panicked call, the recording of which was broadcast on Channel 2 News. "I will burn everything. I will burn the cars, the doors. I will break down the doors. I will break everything."
The man says he's demanding asylum and protection from "these murderers the Zionists, the murdering Jews." He also said that Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, "should die."
He repeatedly tells Abuani, "Nobody believes me."
(Frenkel is a McClatchy special correspondent.)
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