A man trying to approach the Israeli embassy in the Uzbek capital Tashkent was shot and killed Friday. There are no reports of further injuries.
Following the incident, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom instructed all Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide to go on a high terror alert.
The man aroused the suspicion of security personnel in the area because of “strange” behavior and dress. Embassy security officers told the man to “halt” and fired at the man’s legs, but were forced to shoot-to-kill when he refused to heed their commands.
Following the incident, police revealed the suspect had a mock explosive attached to his stomach. The man’s identity is still unconfirmed, and it is also unclear why he was coming to the embassy, or why he was wearing a mock explosive.
One embassy employee told Ynet: “At the moment, everything is quiet. We still cannot leave the building, but there is no danger.”
Uzbekistan’s chief rabbi, Rabbi David Gurevitch, told Ynet: “They told us to take our children to school, and not to come out of our homes until further notice.
“Whenever anything happens against the embassy, they warn the whole community. When there was another attack several months ago, they wanted to close our synagogue, so people would stay home.
The rabbi said there is “no” anti-Semitism in Uzbekistan, and praised the government for protecting the community from “all kinds of crazies.”
“May God help us, it is tense but I hope that everything will be okay, he said.
Even before the incident, embassy guards were on high alert in light of riots gripping the eastern part of the country.
Armed rioters took control of a prison in the city of Andijan and tried to release prisoners. The disturbances, in addition to the touchy political and security situation in Uzbekistan, forced the embassy to raise it’s level of protection and security.
Following the incident, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom spoke with Israel’s ambassador in Tashkent, Ami Mahal, who reported on the embassy staff. Mahal told Shalom a group of Israeli businessmen were scheduled to travel to Uzbekistan, but that the group had cancelled at the last minute out of security concerns.
Attack last year
Last July three people were killed by explosions in Tashkent, one near the Israeli embassy. One of the victims was a body guard for an Israeli diplomat, Tzvi Cohen.
At the time, two Islamic organizations took responsibility for the triple attack.