In a dramatic development, police have arrested three suspects in connection with the 2009 gay youth center shooting on Wednesday, at the height of Tel Aviv Pride Month. The suspects, all Jews, will appear in court on Thursday for a remand hearing. They are residents of Pardes Katz and the ages range from 20 to 40.
Police believe the motive for the murder was a personal dispute and that the shooter was seeking revenge.
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Two people – Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16 – were killed in August 1, 2009 when a veiled man entered the Barnoar gay youth center in Tel Aviv and began shooting at the teens gathered there.
Suspects arrested (Photo: Shuki Lerer)
A comprehensive gag order was placed on the details of the investigation.
Nir Katz and Liz Trubeshi (Photos: Shaul Golan, Adva Naftali)
Sources in the Tel Aviv District Police said the investigation is far from over but said their lead was solid and ruled out nationalistic motives. It was suggested that two of the suspects were arrested in a central Israel city after being taken off a truck.
"This was a cold blooded murderer who did not flinch," said one police source close to the investigation at the time. While the details of the shooting are still under a gag order it was revealed that the legnth of the attack was a matter of seconds.
Victims rushed to hospital (Photo: Amit Magal)
Scene of murder (Photo: AP)
Security forces investigating the murder at one point looked into the possibility that Jacob Teitel, who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a series of hate crimes, might be involved in the shooting. Teitel confessed to his involvement but police later concluded he was not the shooter but was protecting the murderer.
The Israeli National LGBT Task Force said in response to the arrests "We are assured that authorities will not rest until the guilty parties are found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said he hopes those arrested are indeed the guilty parties. "The unsolved killings have cast a heavy shadow not only over the gay community, but on the entire Israeli society. Responses to the murders by different elements revealed the depths of hatred toward the gay community and free society," Horowitz said.
He added that "the victims deserve ample care and compensation – something they have yet to receive, and especially needed is vigorous educational initiative to prevent future attacks."
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