Monday, August 3, 2009

Shooting at Tel Aviv Gay Youth Center Leaves Three Dead

(From The New York Times)
"TEL AVIV (Agence France-Presse) — A masked man opened fire on a crowd at a gay community center in Tel Aviv late Saturday, killing three people and wounding at least 10 others, the Israeli emergency services said.

A young man and a young woman were killed on the spot and the third victim died in hospital, the authorities said, and one of those who were wounded was in serious condition.

The gunman, who was dressed in black, unloaded an automatic weapon as he fired on the group of young gay men and lesbians near the entrance of the center, witnesses said, and he then ran away.

No one had been arrested by early Sunday.

The Tel Aviv police chief, Shahar Ayalon, ordered the closing of a nearby gay bar in the city and urged such establishments to remain vigilant.

Leaders of the gay community said they believed that the shooting was a homophobic attack.

'It is not surprising that such a crime can be committed given the incitement of hatred against the homosexual community,' the president of Tel Aviv’s gay and lesbian community, Mai Pelem, told reporters.

In the past, swastikas had been painted at the entrance to the center.

The head of Israel’s gay and lesbian national association, Mike Hamel, said: 'In our worst nightmares we could not have imagined that the hatred against our community, which is hurting nobody, could go this far.

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