A body was found early Saturday in an Israel Electric Corporation facility in north Tel Aviv. Police say it belongs to a 59-year-old man, Leonard (Arik) Karp, who was assaulted Friday night along with his wife and daughter at the Tel Baruch beach.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch about the murder Saturday evening and said he was appalled and concerned about the case.
Netanyahu ordered the minister to increase police activity against hooliganism and to expedite indictments in the case, the last of seven murders to have occurred in Israel over the course of just two weeks.
Police forces have arrested 10 suspects so far, residents of the Arab local council of Jaljulia and the city of Petah Tikva. Police said they would appeal for a gag order against the publication of the suspects' photos in order to refrain from compromising a future lineup.
Several of the suspects were arrested in the Horashim Forest in a state of intoxication.
One of the suspects, a 17-year old girl from Petah Tikva, was led by officers to the scene of the crime in order to recount the incident. She said the suspects had beat Karp after he voiced a comment to them.
She said she had tried to separate between the sides when conflict ensued. Her attorney said later that any confession she gave to police was void as officers had prevented her from meeting with a lawyer before taking a statement.
A police investigation revealed that the man, who lives in the area, was sitting with his wife and 25-year-old daughter on a bench at the beach, when a group of young people arrived at the area.
According to the mother and daughter, the youths made a comment about Karp's daughter and he responded, prompting them to attack the family members.
At a certain stage, the mother and daughter began fleeing the area. Some of the assailants ran after them, while the other continued beating the father. The father managed to escape a short distance, but the youths chased him and allegedly drowned him in the water.
The two women, who lost eye contact with the father, called the police and Magen David Adom rescue services.
Police forces dispatched to area (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Commander David Gez told reporters that the police had received a report about a brawl at the Tel Baruch beach at around 12:30 am, and that a force dispatched to the area discovered two injured women who told them that they had been beaten and that the father had gone missing.
"We operated forces to locate the missing man, and at the same time located the suspects, all about 20 years old," the police commander said. "All leads are being looked into. We then searched for the husband with the help of a helicopter and many police officers.
"This is a serious act of hooliganism, and we will enforce our presence in the area. The Israel Police are deployed in order to prevent such acts, and that is how we managed to locate the suspects within such a short time."
Commander Ilan Mor, of the police's Tel Aviv district, told Ynet that "in a case like this, in which someone tries to create a provocation, an arrest should ideally be made a minute before an incident breaks out".
"In dozens of cases it happens and this time we weren't successful. It's a frustrating feeling. I think last night was a failure when you look at the outcomes, but we will move on," he added.
Other police officers categorized the attack as a freak occurrence difficult to prevent due to the secluded area in which it took place and the alacrity with which the situation deteriorated.
Mor claims that from an operational standpoint police acted properly. "The final test should be how quickly police cars arrived and suspects were arrested," he said. "Police cars reached the scene in less than five minutes after receiving the call."
The mother was evacuated in light condition to the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The police launched an extensive search for her husband, and dozens of police officers were dispatched to the Tel Baruch beach.
A body believed to belong to the man was later found floating at an Israel Electric Corps. harborage near the beach. It was transferred to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.
Amnon Meranda contributed to this report