Israeli police negotiation team helps Romanian law enforcement end hostage crisis

Experts assist local police forces in rescuing young girl held by father as he threatened to blow up home in Bucharest suburb

The scene of a hostage situation in the Bucharest suburb of Chiajna, May 6, 2023. (Israel Police)
The scene of a hostage situation in the Bucharest suburb of Chiajna, May 6, 2023. (Israel Police)

The Israel Police on Saturday said officers of its Crisis Negotiation Unit successfully assisted Romanian law enforcement in ending a hostage situation that had developed over the past two days.

According to police, since Thursday morning, a man in his 40s was holed up with his 5-year-old daughter, threatening to blow up his home in the Bucharest suburb of Chiajna with gas canisters, amid a domestic dispute.

The Romanian chief of police made contact with the Israel Police’s attaché to Romania for assistance with the hostage situation, a police statement said.

The Israeli Crisis Negotiation Unit opened a command center in Israel that housed negotiation professionals, psychologists, members of the police foreign relations unit, researchers, volunteers, and members of the overseas operations unit.

The Israeli team worked around the clock on Saturday to direct and assist Romanian police in the negotiations with the suspect, which eventually resulted in the young girl being rescued.

Israeli experts had briefed the suspect’s lawyer on how to approach him and talk to him. And after around 30 hours, the lawyer entered the home and managed to convince the distraught man to release his daughter and come out peacefully.

Police experts are seen working from Israel to assist Romanian police in a hostage situation in Romania, May 6, 2023. (Israel Police)

The Romanian chief of police, Benone-Marian Matei, was quoted as saying to the Israel Police attaché after the successful operation: “My friend, thank you very much! Please send my best wishes to the Israeli team. They helped us a lot. Real professionals!”

The head of the police operations division, Deputy Commissioner Sigal Bar Zvi, hailed the assistance given to Romanian law enforcement. “The Israel Police is willing to provide assistance to other police forces around the world whenever requested,” she said in the statement.

“Our negotiation unit is recognized in the international field as an elite unit and this is not the first time that it has been required for assistance outside the country’s borders,” Bar Zvi added.

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