Palestinian caught after crashing stolen car through airport security

Passengers were locked in the terminals for their safety during the night-time incident.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Palestinian from Ramallah was caught Wednesday night after crashing his stolen car through the security barrier at Ben Gurion International Airport.

The incident took place around 1:15 a.m. Airport personnel immediately initiated security procedures that included locking all terminal doors so that the potential terrorist could not enter. No passengers inside at the time were allowed to leave, and flight delays were announced.

Meanwhile, the gate security guards activated the blocking barriers so that the car could not leave the way it entered, which was from Route 1, coming from the direction of Tel Aviv.

“The car continued driving and turned towards the direction of the northern gate (Petach Tikva),” the Airport Authority said in a statement describing the incident. “A security guard coming from the direction of the northern gate carried out a blocking maneuver. The driver tried to get around the blockading vehicle and attempted to run down the guard.”

The guard fired one shot at the car and hit it. The thief then got out and ran away. In a wide-ranging sweep of the area, security personnel and police officers found the man, in his 30s, hiding in some bushes. He was promptly arrested and taken in for questioning.

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In their initial investigation the police learned that the thief had stolen the car in Bat Yam, a working-class suburb of Tel Aviv located about 50 kilometers from the airport.

“This is another serious incident of an attempt to injure and endanger the security services by a resident of Judea and Samaria, who entered Israel in violation of the law through the breached [security] fence in order to damage the property of the country’s residents while posing a real risk to public safety during the attempt to escape from justice,” the police said in a statement.

The Airport Authority praised the work of its staff, saying, “The forces acted with determination and professionalism while exercising discretion in an act of noteworthy cooperation between the security forces and the policemen of the region.”

Authority chief Hagai Topolanski said the crew deserved great appreciation. He added that while “proud that these are our forces and this is their professional level,” the Authority will “conduct an operational investigation in order to learn lessons” for the future.

Huge traffic jams were reported in the vicinity of the airport as a result of the shutdown during the hour-and-a-half-long incident. In the event, all the night-time flights took off on time, according to airport spokespersons, with the airport quickly returning to its regular schedule.