JERUSALEM: The Palestinian who broke into the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv and tried to take hostages was a former informant for Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency, his lawyer claimed on Wednesday.
Avital Horev said his client, Nadim Injaz, who was born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, was also wanted by the Palestinian Authority.
Injaz was shot and wounded late on Tuesday after breaking into the Turkish mission and attempting to take a hostage in a bungled attempt to seek asylum.
Medical sources said he had been shot in the leg and sustained light wounds, after which he was taken to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital.
Seven hours after he forced his way into the embassy, the attacker was escorted out of the embassy late Tuesday and bundled into an Israeli ambulance. Wearing a light blue shirt and limping slightly from an apparent gunshot wound, he raised his arms briefly and shouted before Israeli police and paramedics subdued him.
An hour earlier, the Turkish government said it had the situation in hand.
"Our embassy guards neutralized the individual as he tried to take the vice consul as hostage after shouting around for asylum," the Turkish statement said, adding he was armed with a knife, a gasoline can and a gun that turned out to be a toy.
"I saw my client in hospital during the night," Horev told public radio.
"During the 1990s and the early part of this decade, he stopped Palestinian attacks, saving many lives of both soldiers and Israeli citizens, but the Shin Bet, from whom he asked for protection, refused to recognize its responsibility towards him," he said.
But Shin Bet denied having anything to do with him.
"Nadim Injaz never worked for us and his case is being dealt with by the police," a Shin Bet spokesman told AFP.
The bungled attempt to seek asylum arose from a threat to Injaz’s life if he were to return to the Palestinian territories, his lawyer claimed.
"The Palestinian Authority has signed a death warrant against Nadim Injaz," said Horev, adding his client had been released from an Israeli jail only three weeks ago after serving time for theft and staying in Israel illegally.
But Palestinian security officials contacted by AFP denied knowing anyone of that name from Ramallah.
Injaz climbed to the first storey of the embassy and forced his way into the building, armed with a knife, a jerry can and a toy gun, the Turkish foreign ministry said in Ankara. No-one from the embassy was hurt.
During his questioning immediately after the incident, Injaz told embassy officials he had decided to seek asylum at the Turkish mission a week ago, said the statement from Ankara.
"It was understood that … (he) undertook this action with an intention to seek asylum in Turkey, had attacked Britain’s embassy in Tel Aviv in a similar manner in 2006 to ask for asylum, and had served one year in jail over that incident," the statement said.
Injaz, who was born in Ramallah and holds an Israeli travel document, told them he had called an Israeli newspaper and a television station to speak about his plan before breaking into the embassy Tuesday, it said.
Channel 2 TV played a recording of a phone call it said came from the attacker.
"I have two hostages," he said in Hebrew. "I will blow up the embassy. … If they don’t let me leave this country now I will burn down the whole building. I will burn everything. I will burn the cars, the doors I will break down the doors. I will break everything."
Information obtained from the Palestinians showed that Injaz "had been involved in similar incidents in the past and had an unreliable personality," the ministry said.
The embassy was in contact with Israeli authorities "over the protection of Turkish diplomatic missions," it said.
Injaz said he admired Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"I love him and I respect him," he said. The Turkish leader "should give me political asylum against these murderers the Zionists, the murdering Jews," he added, linking the incident indirectly to recent tensions between Israel and Turkey.
He also condemned Palestinian leaders, saying President Mahmoud Abbas "should die" for stealing funds. –Agencies