Ben-Gurion Airport security went on emergency alert early Tuesday morning, when
two Palestinian men driving a stolen truck broke through the airport’s security
checkpoint and refused to come to a stop.
The incident began at 3:30
a.m., when the trailer truck – which police said had been stolen in Beit Dagan –
came barreling through the checkpoint at the entrance to the
Police said the two men, residents of Jenin and Kalkilya, had
refused to yield and had continued down the approach to the airport, driving
through a second improvised roadblock and attempting to run over a security
The truck finally came to a halt only 200 meters from the entrance
to Terminal 3, after it ran over spikes that security personnel had put down and
after a security guard fired shots that hit the tires, Ben- Gurion officials
The two men then fled the truck on foot, but were arrested shortly
afterward. They faced a remand extension on Tuesday.
Police believe that
the car thieves did not intend to enter the airport complex but made a mistake
coming off the highway.
Police sappers who were called to the scene
checked the vehicle, but found no explosives or firearms.
situation led to the delay of at least 10 flights. However, not long after the
incident it was business as usual at the airport.
Following the incident,
Ben- Gurion Airport manager Shmuel Zakai praised security personnel, saying they
had prepared for such incidents and that their “cool-headed response” was what
had led to the situation ending without loss of life.
Tuesday morning that the last terror attack at Ben-Gurion was the “Lod Massacre”
in 1972, when three members of the Japanese Red Army gunned down 26
According to Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Prof. Alan Kirschenbaum, the close call should not be cause for
“It was only after the fact that they learned that the truck
wasn’t full of explosives,” said Kirschenbaum, the head of Kirschenbaum
consulting and the initiator and coordinator of the Bemosa consortium – a
Europe-wide research project aimed at improving security in airports.
noted that the two men “were able to drive the truck all the way there, and if
they had used different tires, possibly ones that would resist the bullets, they
would have made it there. If these were highly motivated terrorists, then they
probably would have done their deed.”
He added that while he didn’t know
what the specific emergency procedures at Ben- Gurion Airport were, and while
airport personnel may have followed the rules well, “sometimes it’s just sheer