News (World)

Jerusalem gay pride parade attacker convicted of murder

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Jerusalem court on Tuesday convicted an ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jew of murder for fatally stabbing a teenage girl at a gay pride parade last year.

Yishai Schlissel was also convicted on multiple charges of attempted murder for the people he wounded in the 2015 attack.

Schlissel, who had been freed from prison weeks earlier after serving a sentence for stabbing several people at the city’s pride parade in 2005, stabbed six people at the July 30 parade. One of them, 16-year-old Shira Banki, later died of her wounds.

A hearing in June will set a timetable for future sentencing. He could face life in prison.

“The accused did not learn from the legal proceedings against him 10 years ago and from the long time he served in prison. He returned and he committed these crimes with an ideology of hate,” said prosecutor Oshrat Shoham.

Jerusalem, known for its rich religious history and tradition, holds a modest gay pride parade every year in contrast to the large parade in the nearby liberal city of Tel Aviv, which drew over 100,000 people last year.

After his release from prison for serving out his term for the 2005 attack, Schlissel had angrily spoken out against the parade.

The parade was underway as planned, with party music, Israeli flags and rainbow-clad marchers wending their way through central Jerusalem, when the attacker lunged into the march, stabbing people with a long-bladed knife before being apprehended by police.

“This is not someone who should see the light of day,” said Noam Eyal, a parade participant who was wounded by Schlissel. “I’m not talking about revenge. I don’t care about that but I mean the person is a danger … and it is not clear when he will stop being a threat.”

A majority of Jerusalem’s residents are observant Jews, Muslims or Christians, conservative communities whose members mostly frown on homosexuality. But violent attacks on gays are rare.

Previous parades in the holy city have drawn opposition and threats.

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