Text size

Police special forces stormed the British Embassy in Tel Aviv late on Thursday evening and captured a Palestinian man who had been holed up inside for eight hours, claiming to have a gun and demanding political asylum. No one was injured.

Police said the forces seized and disarmed the man after he laid down his pistol for a second to eat food that they had given to him. After the arrest, the authorities discovered that the weapon was plastic, the police said in a statement.

Embassy spokeswoman Karen Kaufman said that the man was arrested in a coordinated effort with British officials. "As far as the embassy is concerned, the event is over," she said. "We are very grateful to Israeli police for their swift response and the excellent cooperation throughout the incident."

Nadim Injaz, 28, a resident of Ramallah and former police informant, burst into the embassy by jumping a fence at 2:30 P.M. In a dramatic interview on live television on Thursday evening, he said that he would rather die than return to the West Bank, where he feared Palestinian militants would kill him due to what he claimed was his cooperation with Israel's security services.

Police tried for hours to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff. Special forces were deployed in buildings overlooking the embassy on Hayarkon Street.

"They will either take me out of here to Europe, or as a body," Injaz told Channel 2 television in Hebrew. He said that he was forced to take the extreme step after Israeli authorities rebuffed repeated demands for help and protection. "If no one comes soon to help me save my life, I will finish myself here."

Injaz said that West Bank militants told him that he would only be allowed to return to Ramallah alive if he attacked Israelis. "I don't want to kill children," he said in tears in a separate interview with Channel 10 television. "I want to be taken from here. I don't want to be here."

Police said that Injaz was an informer and a criminal with a record of property and drug offenses who had encountered financial and legal troubles. Asked by Channel 2 if he worked for the Shin Bet security service, Injaz named his handlers in the Israeli police.

Injaz said that he has petitioned Israeli courts and contacted local media and human rights groups to win residency rights in Israel. His lawyer and human rights activists also came to embassy during the standoff.

Kaufman said that an investigation would be launched into how the man breached security. In the Channel 2 interview, Injaz said the infiltration was not difficult. "Someone who is going to die doesn't care," he said.

Embassy guards said that Injaz jumped a wall surrounding the embassy, ran toward the underground parking lot and shouted that he had a gun and would shoot himself in the head unless his demands were met. The guards called the police and alerted the ambassador, who was in his office at the time.

The parking lot is considered British terrain, but the ambassador decided to let local police handle the incident.