Man wearing bulletproof vest taken into custody outside Israeli Embassy in D.C.
A man wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a knife was taken into custody Friday morning outside the Embassy of Israel in Washington, according to a law enforcement official.
Secret Service Uniformed Division officers responded to a report of a suspicious person and vehicle near the embassy at around 8 a.m., the agency said in a statement.
The man, who has not been identified, told Secret Service he had a knife on him and had left his car running nearby, the law enforcement official said.
Police checked the man’s vehicle and found a dog inside and one bullet, but no weapon. The vehicle was eventually cleared. The man surrendered his knife to authorities.
According to the law enforcement official, the man apparently did not threaten anyone and did not brandish the knife. It’s also believed that he did not approach an embassy security checkpoint.
The man will most likely undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Roads near the embassy were closed Friday morning. The Secret Service said closures “will be lifted at the conclusion of the investigation.”
The incident follows Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing on Thursday that Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan would not be allowed to visit the country. The pro-Palestinian Democratic congresswomen, who have both been outspoken critics of Israel, were scheduled to arrive on Sunday.
“Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, and it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy,” Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS.
The Prime Minister said “unlike all Democratic and Republican” lawmakers who have visited in the past, Omar and Tlaib avoided seeking a meeting with an Israeli official “in both the government and the opposition.” Netanyahu said their visit was intended “to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it.”
An itinerary of Omar and Tlaib involved no meetings with Israeli or Palestinian officials, and instead showed they planned to meet exclusively with human rights organizations and NGOs from both sides to get a non-political assessment of the situation on the ground.
Omar said Netanyahu’s decision was an “affront” and accused him of giving in to President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier Thursday that it “would show great weakness” if Israel allowed the two congresswomen to enter the country.
Tlaib, who was born in the United States and has family who still live in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, said in a tweet on Thursday that the decision to bar her and Omar from visiting Israel was “a sign of weakness.”
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri reversed course Friday, saying in a statement that Tlaib would be allowed in the country so she could visit with her grandmother. Tlaib rejected the offer, tweeting: “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in.”