A Palestinian man from the West Bank broke through the entrance checkpoint at Ben-Gurion Airport early Sunday morning, driving against the flow of traffic and breaking through a barrier.
He was stopped after a brief car chase through the airport, which ended near Terminal 3, the main arrivals and departures terminal. Security officials said that it seemed to be misguided driving rather than a targeted attack.
The incident is being investigated by the Airports Authority. From initial findings, it seems that the driver is from the West Bank and entered Israeli territory illegally, stealing a car in the Sharon area, a suburban region near Tel Aviv.
How was he stopped?
Security forces who chased him down shot and lightly injured the man. After receiving medical attention, he will be interrogated.
People inside the airport at the time said they were told there was a security breach and that they had to lie on the ground in order to protect themselves, sparking panic in the terminal.
Videos circulating on social media showed passengers in the airport’s departure terminal crouching alongside their luggage as instructions sounded over loudspeakers.
לא ברור למה נתבג הוא מקום חביב על גנבי רכב. גם הבוקר גנב פרץ את המחסום ודהר נגד כיוון התנועה בשטחי השדה. היה מרדף, היה ירי (הגנב נפצע קל) הייתה דריכות והנוסעים נשכבו על הרצפה ולפי דיווח גם עמדות הצלפים נפתחו. הגנב, תושב איו״ש נעצר ונתבג שב לשגרה כשהאירוע החריג יתוחקר pic.twitter.com/ECYEwU1iXh— Michal Raz Chaimovitz | 'מיכל רז חיימוביץ (@gotomichal) December 4, 2022
The suspect is believed to have taken a wrong turn off the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. It’s not the first time.
In September, a Palestinian driver drove a stolen vehicle through the checkpoint barrier at the airport. He was very quickly stopped when a security guard shot a single bullet at the car, effectively stopping him.
“It happens almost every week,” a police spokesperson said.
Nevertheless, tensions are high relating to potential terrorist attacks as a resurgence of “lone wolf” incidents has left several dead and dozens injured throughout the country.
Reuters contributed to this report.