A Palestinian man sustained gunshot wounds at the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv this evening. Turkish diplomats told Ankara news agencies that he had tried to take embassy workers hostage with a knife and what later turned out to be a toy gun.
The man, Nadim Injaz from Ramallah, collaborated with Israel’s security services in the past, police said.
The Turkish foreign ministry said Injaz was shot while trying to take one of the embassy’s employees hostage, but did not explain why the man was still being held rather than released to receive medical treatment.
Attorney Avital Horef, who represents Injaz, told Ynet that his client, a former collaborator, had been imprisoned in Israel for criminal offenses. Later he was dropped off at a checkpoint in Judea and Samaria, “but because he wanted to stay alive, he fled to Israel again,” the attorney said, adding that Injaz sought political asylum in Turkey.
According Horef, Nadim Injaz is the same man who barricaded himself in the British embassy, in 2006.
A Palestinian source told Ynet Injaz has been wanted for several years on charges of treasons and collaboration with Israel. Injaz had fled to Tel Aviv in order to escape the clutches of Palestinian security forces, the security source said. Injaz’s family declined to comment.
Turkish embassy staff informed Israeli authorities that Injaz is in good condition and will later be transferred to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital under police guard.
Earlier, another incident was said to be taking place within the embassy walls with hostages possibly involved. Witnesses at the site said several shots were fired and that a bullet hole was visible in one of the embassy’s windows. However, there was no confirmation of a hostage taking incident at the site.
Large police forces were deployed at the scene and were waiting outside the building throughout the evening; diplomatic protocol prevented them from going in as the embassy is outside the Israel Police’s jurisdiction. SWAT teams and police negotiators have also been rushed to the scene in the event that hostages were being held inside the embassy.
The Foreign Ministry was coordinating the handling of the affair in light of its diplomatic sensitivities.
Magen David Adom ambulance service’s Director Eli Bin arrived at the site of the incident because of its gravity.
“We were called to scene after being informed that someone was barricading himself at the embassy,” he said. “When we arrived, a Turkish representative said there is no need for us to come in and did not allow us to enter. We know with certainty that there is one gunshot victim but we don’t know his condition.”
“While we were at the site, more shots were fired, but at this time we don’t quite know what’s going on inside the embassy and are waiting outside, along with other security forces, until we get our orders,” he said.
Riot police forces were also dispatched to the area earlier for fear that the situation may get out of hand as more people arrive at the scene.
Accroding to earlier reports, police forces sealed off the area and were holding up traffic on HaYarkon Street, where the embassy is located.
Injaz’s attorney explained his actions. He said that after Injaz had barricaded himself at the British embassy, when it became clear he was wanted in the West Bank, he received permission to reside in Israel, but not to work. Thus he began to steal, and was jailed.
“While he was still in jail he contacted me and asked me to sort out permission for him to reside in Israel,” said Horef. “I petitioned the High Court for this even before his release, and to get a temporary injunction to prevent his deportation to the occupied territories, where a death sentence awaited him.”
“About two weeks ago the temporary injunction was cancelled in a High Court deliberation,” Horef continued. “When Injaz was released, he was taken to the Judea and Samaria checkpoint, and like anyone who wants to live, he escaped back to Israel. Today he came to the Turkish embassy in order to sort out his troubles and obtain political asylum.”
When asked where his case now stood, Horef said, “I have all the documents and permits regarding Injaz’s work as a collaborator. A man such as this should get permission to reside (in Israel) and not have to face his death sentence, but the fact that the temporary injunction was cancelled in the High Court didn’t leave him many options and was compelled to do something like that in order to get into the embassy.”
The Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv gained prominence in recent months after several anti-Turkish rallies were held in the area. The demonstrations were held to protest Turkey’s attitude to Israel and developments surrounding the lethal IDF raid on a Turkish Gaza-bound vessel.