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Posted by on Aug 1, 2009 in Breaking News, International, Politics, Religion, Society, War | 5 comments

UPDATE 2: Attack on Gay Teenagers in Tel Aviv Kills 3, Wounds 10-15

UPDATE:

J POST:

Three people were killed and 14 people were wounded – two seriously, three moderately and the rest lightly – in a shooting at the Bar Noir, a center for youth run by the Tel Aviv gay community, on Saturday night.

==============================================================
Ynetnews: 2 killed in Tel Aviv shooting

GLBT activist says shooting that killed 2, wounded 10 at gay community meeting place in central Tel Aviv was ‘deliberate act against gay community’

Paramedics treat wounded

Haaretz: Two killed in shooting at Tel Aviv gay center

[snip]

Tel Aviv District Police chief, Major General Shahar Ayalon, said that there had been a gathering of young people at the center in which the attack took place. He said that police officers had been deployed across the area in the wake of the shooting.

Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s only openly gay lawmaker, condemned the attack as a hate crime.

“This is undoubtedly the worst incident targeting the gay community in Israel. It has the characteristics of a hate crime, of someone who attacked to blindly strike out at every person on the spot.”

An eyewitness said that he had been sitting at nearby Cafe Nior when he heard gunshots.

“We saw a woman running toward us covered in blood,” Adi Shimoni told Channel 10. “We saw the gunman flee in the direction of Ahad Ha’am [Street]… He was wearing what looked like a ski mask.”

Shimoni said that he had then entered the club, where “there were many wounded and a lot of blood.”

Mike Hamel, the head of the Aguda, Israel’s LGBT organization, said such an attack was unprecedented in Israel.

“We have joined the list of ‘civilized’ countries in which hatred is the standard,” he said. “I don’t know whether the incident was directed at youth, but it appears that it was directed at the community. This is baseless hatred that cost us dearly – this is what needs to be understood.”

[snip]

Jerusalem Post: Two killed, 15 wounded in Tel Aviv gay center shooting

[snip]

The building is used as an entertainment and support center for young members of the gay community. Army Radio reported that the fatalities were a counselor and a girl.

[snip]

Arutz Sheva Israel National News

According to Army Radio, the dead man was a counselor at the center, and the female victim was 17 years old. The victims’ names have not yet been released.

Those wounded in the attack were taken to the Ichilov and Wolfson hospitals. Two are in critical condition, one is in serious condition, two are in moderate condition, and the rest were lightly wounded.

Police said there was no advance warning of a threat against the center. While security forces initially believed that the attack may have been terrorist in nature, police now believe that the attack was motivated by either a personal grudge or hatred of the homosexual community.

As the attacker remains at large, all centers for the homosexual community in Tel Aviv have been closed for the night as a precaution.

UPDATE II:
Spontaneous demonstrations against the killing took place after the murders.
Richard Silverstein:

No one should make the mistake of over-generalizing about whether this attack represents a broader trend of homophobia in Israeli society. As I wrote here earlier, Israel is certainly less homophobic than surrounding Arab states, but less tolerant than many western nations. Anti-gay attacks have taken place in other places though I can’t remember such a serial murder in the U.S. or other places.

…I was disturbed to hear that the police have closed a gay bar that abutted the community center. You’d think the police would insist that it remain open and provide security to ensure the safety of all its customers. Closing the facility gives the attacker a victory of sorts and casts doubt on where the priorities of the police lie.

–A news report via You Tube on the event:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIRAsPqJq4M&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinknews.co.uk%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2005-13521.html&feature=player_embedded
Jewlicious:

Today will be a black day in the history of Israel. Let’s hope people can get past petty differences and that we’ll be able to unite as a nation and as a people and unequivocally condemn this insane, cowardly and heinous attack. I’m nauseous and my sympathies go out to the victims, their families, friends and loved ones.

The Jewish Daily Foward:

Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s only openly gay lawmaker, condemned the attack on a Tel Aviv gay and lesbian youth club on Saturday night as a hate crime.

Three people were killed and 10 were injured in the attack, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The incident took place late Saturday night at Cafe Noir on Ahad Ha’am Street in Central Tel Aviv.

“This is undoubtedly the worst incident targeting the gay community in Israel. It has the characteristics of a hate crime, of someone who attacked to blindly strike out at every person on the spot,” Horowitz said of the shooting.

Mike Hamel, the head of the Aguda, Israel’s LGBT organization, said such an attack was unprecedented in Israel. “We have joined the list of ‘civilized’ countries in which hatred is the standard,” he said. “I don’t know whether the incident was directed at youth, but it appears that it was directed at the community. This is baseless hatred that cost us dearly — this is what needs to be understood.”

Tel Aviv City Council’s Shas faction, an ultra-Orthodox party whose MKs have repeatedly spoken against homosexuality, extended its condolences to the victims and condemned the shooting.

“We are shocked and bereaved, and denounce without reservation the murderous incident that targeted Tel Aviv’s gay community,” the party said.

An eyewitness account:

An eyewitness said that he had been sitting at nearby Cafe Noir when he heard gunshots.

“We saw a woman running toward us covered in blood,” Adi Shimoni told Channel 10. “We saw the gunman flee in the direction of Ahad Ha’am [Street]… He was wearing what looked like a ski mask.”

Shimoni said that he had then entered the club, where “there were many wounded and a lot of blood.”

…A 16-year-old victim of the Tel Aviv gay and lesbian center shooting said on Saturday that he feared the incident would force his comrades to disclose their homosexuality.

“I’m horrified to think that this is the way the parents of some of my friends will find out,” Or Gil, who was taken to Ichilov Hospital following a knee and chest injury, told Haaretz.

“At about 10.40 P.M. someone came over, all dressed in black and wearing a black mask,” he recounted the unfolding of the incident. “I thought it was a joke at first, but he immediately opened fire. People took cover under the bed and tables, but there were no screams. I hid under a table with someone else. It’s a small place; there’s just one terrace. Once you’re inside, there’s nowhere to run.”

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