Shooting at Tel Aviv Gay Center Leaves 2 Dead, Nation in Shock


Israel has been rocked by a Saturday night attack at a gay community center in Tel Aviv has left two dead, and at least ten others injured:

Telaviv2 "The gunman, who was dressed in black, unloaded an automatic weapon as he fired on the group of young gay men and lesbians near the entrance of the center, witnesses said, and he then ran away. No one had been arrested by early Sunday. The Tel Aviv police chief, Shahar Ayalon, ordered the closing of a nearby gay bar in the city and urged such establishments to remain vigilant. Leaders of the gay community said they believed that the shooting was a homophobic attack."

The two victims killed at the scene, Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16, were laid to rest on Sunday

Katz_trubeshi"Katz, 26, who served as a counselor at the center for the past three years, lived with his partner of four years in Givatayim....Liz Trubeshi, 16, the second victim, was also laid to rest Sunday at a cemetery in Holon. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar joined hundreds of relatives and friends at the service. 'We love you very much. You were always our princess. I can’t say goodbye,' Liz's brother Eitan said in his eulogy. 'Mom woke me up last night (after hearing of the attack), but I told her everything was alright. I never told you how much I love you.'"

The gunman remains at large and a manhunt is underway. Knesset members are calling the attack a hate crime, perhaps Israel's worst anti-gay incident ever.

The AP reports: "Police slapped a gag order on the case, saying publication of details could compromise the investigation. Mike Hamel, a gay rights activist whose organization runs the youth club, said the center served as a safe place where gay teens — many of them still concealing their sexual identity from their families and friends — could meet with counselors and other teenagers. He blamed religious incitement against homosexuals for the attack."

Telaviv3 Hundreds of Israelis turned out to a rally on Sunday in response to the attacks: "The demonstrations throughout the country began Sunday in Tel Aviv near the center...[and] spread to Haifa in the north and Beersheba in the south, as well as to Jerusalem's Zion Square. Police have swarmed the Tel Aviv area in search of the gunman, who was wearing black. They are treating the attack as a hate crime. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack at the start of Sunday morning's weekly Cabinet meeting. 'I strongly condemn the shocking murders that were perpetrated last night in Tel Aviv,' he said. 'This morning I spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.  I fully back the police in their search to find the murderer. We will bring him to justice and treat him with the utmost severity of the law. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all Israelis that ours is a democratic state. We are a nation of law. Ours is a country built on tolerance, and we must respect all people as they are.'"

Video of the streets of Tel Aviv just after the attack and a report on the attacks,

Posted August 2, 2009 at 5:14pm ETC by Andy Towle
in crime, Israel, News