UPDATE: Shortly before 3:30 AM on Tuesday, a truck stolen by two car thieves from the Jenin and Qalkilya, under control of the Palestinian Authority, panicked when they realized they were driving up to a check post at the entrance to Ben Gurion airport.
They sped up and rammed through the first security gate at the entrance to the airport, which is right off the highway, and still a distance away from the airport terminal.
Emergency road blocks were set up on the road leading to the terminal.
The speeding truck then sped up and rammed through a second roadblock, and attempted to run over the guard. That guard shot at the truck, and stopped it a few hundred meters from Terminal 3. The PA Arabs got out of the truck, attempted to run, and were captured by the security personnel.
Emergency procedures were imposed briefly, and all entrance points to the airport were sealed, incoming and outgoing flights were stopped.
The police bomb squad searched the truck, stolen from Beit Dagan, which turned out to be empty. The emergency ended after a short while.
Inside the airport, people thought terrorists were shooting at the terminal.
Very early Tuesday morning, September 3, two Arab Palestinians allegedly rammed their truck through the safety barriers at Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv, presumably in an attempt to perpetrate a terrorist attack.
Israeli security were able to stop those in the truck before anyone was harmed. Early reports are that the truck’s driver and a passenger were placed under arrest.
The airport was shut down briefly, but outgoing passengers were able to proceed through check-in.
There has not been a major terrorist attack at an Israeli airport in more than forty years.
In May, 1972, three members of a Japanese terrorist organization, acting under orders from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, used machine guns and grenades to attack passengers in the baggage retrieval area of what was then called Lod Airport. Twenty-four people were killed and more than 70 people were injured in that attack. Eight of the dead were Israelis and the rest were tourists from other countries.
Two of the terrorists were killed during the operation, the third was tried and was sentenced to three life sentences plus ten additional years. That convicted murderer, Kozo Okamoto, was released from prison after serving only 13 years. Okamoto was released along with 1,149 other prisoners, including Sheik Yassin – who became the leader of the Hamas movement – in exchange for three Israelis who had been taken prisoner in the First Lebanon War.
One of those involved in the planning of the Lod Massacre, Ghassan Kanafani, was assassinated in 1972 by Israel in retaliation for the attack. In 2011, the Washington Jewish Community Center’s Theater J hosted the play, “Return to Haifa,” which was written by Kanafani. Although local activists protested, the Jewish Federation of Washington, D.C. rejected the suggestion that the work not be given a home at the Federation-funded JCC.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus