Gunman kills 2 in attack on Tel Aviv gay youth center

Mideast Israel Tel Aviv Shooting

LGBTQ Nation

Israeli police are hunting for a masked man who opened fire at a community centre for gay teenagers in Tel Aviv, killing two people and injuring another 15.

A masked man entered the center for gay teens in downtown Tel Aviv late Saturday night, pulled out a pistol and opened fire, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The shooter then concealed his weapon and fled the scene on foot into the busy streets outside the center, Rosenfeld said.

Mideast Israel Tel Aviv Shooting

The dead were identified as a 26-year-old man who was a counselor at the center and a 17-year-old girl.

The shooting shocked the Mediterranean city, which prides itself on its live-and-let-live attitude and boasts a thriving gay community. The attack drew condemnations from the city’s mayor, from Cabinet ministers, the country’s chief rabbis and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We’ll bring him to justice and exercise the full extent of the law against him,” Netanyahu said of the killer, speaking at the Israeli Cabinet’s weekly meeting.

Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s only openly gay lawmaker, called the attack a “hate crime.”

“This is the worst attack ever against the gay community in Israel,” he said. “This act was a blind attack against innocent youths, and I expect the authorities to exercise all means in apprehending the shooter.”

The gunman is still at large.

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