In 2009 a shooter opened fire at the Barnoar, a Tel Aviv bar and club for homosexual youths, during a support group meeting. The shooting left a young man and a young woman dead on the spot and the third victim dead in hospital. Ten others were wounded and two were left with permanent handicaps, reports israelnationalnews.com.
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, according to the initial AFP report.
Leaders of the gay community said they believed that the shooting was a homophobic attack. In the past, swastikas had been painted at the entrance to the center.
New evidence has reportedly come to light regarding the state’s main witness in the case. The witness has been arrested, and may be charged with interfering with an investigation. Details of the suspicions against him have not been made public.
In 2013, police announced the arrest of Hagai Felician, 23. Felician was accused of carrying out the attack in revenge for a well-known gay activist’s sexual assault of his teenage relative.
Felician admitted to attempting to blackmail the activist, but denied involvement in the shooting.
Police say Felician later admitted to the shooting in a conversation with two officers disguised as fellow prisoners, reports israelnationalnews.com.
Felician’s attorney, Yogev Narkis, said he expects his client to be released in the near future. “I have no idea who committed the murder, but it definitely wasn’t Hagai Felician,” he told IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal).
Meanwhile attorney Yair Regev, who is representing the state’s witness, accused police of turning on his client in order to cover up their own failures.
Leading gay activists expressed fear and frustration. “The thought that it could be that we don’t know who the murderer was, that the mystery is still unsolved, is unbearable,” Shai Deutsch, chairman of the Israeli National Association for LGBT, told Israel Hayom.