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Israeli police arrest three suspects in 2009 shooting at gay youth center

Israeli police arrest three suspects in 2009 shooting at gay youth center

TEL AVIV — Israeli police have arrested three suspects in connection with a shooting at Tel-Aviv’s gay youth center that took place in 2009.

The three suspects were arrested Wednesday and will appear in court Thursday for a remand hearing.

Ariel Schalit, AP (File)
Israeli police officers and rescue workers at the site of the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Aug. 1, 2009.

The suspects, aged 20 to 40, are Israeli Jews, residents of Tel-Aviv’s suburb of Pardes Katz.

In the August 1, 2009 incident, 26-year-old Nir Katz, and 16-year-old Liz Trubeshi, were killed when a veiled man entered the Barnoar gay youth center in Tel Aviv and began shooting teens attending a support meeting; the shooting left 15 were injured.

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.

Sources in the Tel Aviv District Police said the investigation is far from over, but ruled out nationalistic motives, reported the daily Yediot Aharonot.

“This was a cold blooded murderer who did not flinch,” said one police source close to the investigation.

Details of the shooting and the investigation are still under a gag order.

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Chen Lenger, who was injured in the 2009 shooting, reported that police updated the families of the victims regarding the arrests minutes before they released a press statement.

“It will definitely not bring comfort to the dead, wounded and the families,” he said. “But I hope it will bring closure and calm the difficult feelings before Tel Aviv Gay Pride (scheduled for June 7).”

Israel’s main LGBT organization, the Aguda, stated on its Facebook page: “We are in direct contact with the police and receiving updates. We trust that the police will act to solve the murder and bring the murderer to face justice.”

Israel’s government has so far not provided the victims and their families with financial support for long-term treatment, as there is no law that decrees state funding for victims of hate crimes.

The Aguda has, instead, been helping with support and recently advanced a draft bill in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) for the state to provide such funding.

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