Secret Service Clears Streets Near Israeli Embassy Following Reports of 'Suspicious Person, Vehicle'

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August 16, 2019

The U.S. Secret Service confirmed Friday morning that it has shuttered the streets surrounding the Israeli embassy in downtown Washington, D.C. following reports "of a suspicious person and vehicle," a Secret Service spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon.

"This morning at approximately 8:00 a.m. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers responded to the report of a suspicious person and vehicle near the Embassy of Israel," the official said. " Uniformed Division officers initiated road closures to vehicular and pedestrian traffic and MPD EOD responded to the scene and cleared the vehicle. Road closures remain in effect and will be lifted at the conclusion of the investigation."

Multiple sources confirmed early Friday that the streets had been shutdown and Secret Service was on the scene investigating.

The incident follows a week of controversy over a now suspended visit to Israel by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). The Israeli government denied both representatives entry to the country due to their support for the virulently anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Israel reversed its decision to block Tlaib from entering the country, authorizing Tlaib to visit on humanitarian grounds. Tlaib declined to visit.

It remains unclear if the incident is tied to the fallout over this decision. The Free Beacon will update this report as more information becomes available.

Update 12:56 p.m.: A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy confirmed a "security event" unfolded in the morning.

"A man in the area arose suspicion," the diplomat tweeted. "Unarmed & not aggressive, he posed no security risk. As a precaution, security alerted @SecretService, who resolved it alongside local police. We thank them for their help & commitment to our safety."

A source familiar with the situation further told the Free Beacon that an individual nearby the embassy Friday morning aroused suspicion.

"This morning security spotted a man who raised their suspicions. He was unarmed and was not behaving aggressively, but was wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest and acted abnormally" the source said. "Security notified Secret Service who took over. This happened early in the morning so few people had arrived at the embassy. The situation was resolved by Secret Service in conjunction with local police. We are grateful to the Secret Service and local police for all their assistance and for their continued commitment to everyone’s safety."

Update 4:34 p.m.: A Secret Service spokesperson said that all road closures near the embassy have been lifted and an individual was arrested.

"This morning, security officers outside the Embassy of Israel called the Secret Service Uniformed Division to report an individual outside the Embassy wearing what appeared to be a bullet proof vest," the spokesperson said. "Uniformed Division Officers immediately responded to the scene and located the individual.  Based on an interview with the individual, Uniformed Division officers found a weapon on his person and located his vehicle on Van Ness Street NW.  Uniformed Division Officers initiated road closures to vehicular and pedestrian traffic and a Metropolitan Police Department Explosive Ordnance Disposal team responded and cleared the vehicle.  All road closures have been lifted."

"The individual was arrested and charged with Carrying a Dangerous Weapon – Knife and Unregistered Ammunition," the spokesperson added. "As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot provide further comment."