British Embassy 298.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Friday remanded Ramallah resident Nadim Injaz who infiltrated the British Embassy in Tel Aviv the previous night threatening to kill himself if he was not granted asylum in the United Kingdom, for an additional 4 days in custody.
A tense six-hour standoff ended safely Thursday as police subdued the Palestinian.
Police SWAT teams charged the man as he momentarily put down his pistol to eat food that had been brought to him. The pistol, police then discovered, was a toy.
Injaz, 28, allegedly jumped over the security gate surrounding the perimeter of the embassy compound on the corner of Rehov Hayarkon and Rehov Arlozoroff, and entered the embassy building at approximately 3:45 Thursday afternoon. Embassy employees said that he held the gun to his head and threatened to kill himself if he was not granted asylum in the United Kingdom, demanding that an airplane be sent to nearby Sde Dov airport to carry him to Europe.
British officials made an immediate decision to invite Israeli police to enter the embassy compound, which is considered sovereign British territory. According to embassy officials, security guards asked their commanders whether they should attempt to apprehend Injaz, but were told to wait for Israeli police teams.
Crack SWAT teams, as well as the YASAM unit and hostage negotiators arrived on the scene, under the command of Tel Aviv District Commander Cmdr. David Tzur. But after long hours of negotiation, Injaz refused to change his demands, and the situation was stalemated. All non-essential embassy staff was evacuated from the compound, as the standoff continued in the embassy parking lot.
Injaz has a history of petty crime, and police confirmed that he previously worked as an informer for security services, but said that he was not operated by the Shin Bet. He was recently released from prison, and repeatedly appealed to Israeli authorities to grant him resident status in the country to no avail. In a telephone interview in the midst of the crisis, he said that no longer wanted to talk to Israelis, and that he was seeking asylum in any European country.
"This is a case of an informer who was disappointed and wants to leave the country. We want to finish this incident peacefully and hope to prevent him from committing suicide. We have no interest that he cause harm to himself or others. Of course, we will also check later to see how he managed to penetrate the embassy's security fence," Tzur told reporters on the scene.
Two months ago, Injaz was interviewed in the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot. He said then that his life was in danger in the West Bank because of his cooperation with Israeli security forces. His older brother, he said, had been a Shin Bet informer, and pressure within his native village forced Injaz to flee to Ramallah. But, Injaz said, pressure from the Tanzim forced him to join a criminal gang. In the same interview, Injaz said that Israel's unwillingness to allow him residency status had left him no option but to live illegally in Israel in order to survive commit theft in order to support himself.
Some photographers on the scene were briefly detained, and then released by police shortly after the crisis began, after police said that they were interfering with the negotiations.
It has not been an easy beginning for UK Ambassador Tom Phillips, who has only been in his current position for three weeks. He arrived in the midst of the war in Lebanon, and enjoyed only a few days of quiet before the current incident.
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