Attack on Israeli Consulate in Berlin
17 February 1999

Highlights of statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a press conference:

* At least ten persons, wielding hammers and bats, broke into the Israeli Consulate in Berlin, passing through the German police responsible for external security. Climbing on the barred windows of the first floor of the building, they broke into the second-story windows and entered the consulate. This was a violent attack against an Israeli consulate.

* Inside the consulate, they tried to seize weapons, resulting in gunfire and the first casualty.

* They attempted to take a woman hostage. She was later released through negotiations conducted by the German police and authorities.

* The Israeli consulate staff acted in self-defense. Israeli security personnel are instructed in such circumstances to act with all force, if necessary also by opening fire in self-defense, and in order to prevent the taking of hostages.

* While Israel regrets any loss of life, we are committed to defending Israeli citizens and Israeli missions throughout the world.

* Israel is acting in this matter closely with the German authorities.

* Israel reiterates that it had no part whatsoever in the capture yesterday of Abdullah Ocalan.

* Israel has since yesterday increased the guard on all its missions abroad, including the consulate in Berlin, and will continue to do so.

* Israel is committed to fighting terrorism. Israel is committed to defending its citizens and its missions abroad.

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Reaction of Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon:

Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon stated in reaction to the attack on the Israeli Consulate in Berlin that this attack reemphasizes the importance of the struggle against local, regional and international terrorism. "There is no room for compromise with terrorism. This incident reinforces the justness of the Israeli government’s position which demands an uncompromising struggle against terrorism, of all kinds, including Palestinian terrorism against which, contrary to agreements, the Palestinian Authority is not taking sufficient action." Foreign Minister Sharon praised the consulate’s security personnel for their prompt action. He thanked the German authorities for their treatment of the incident.