As two of the young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) Israelis murdered in a shooting at a Tel Aviv gay centre have been named, the country’s President and Prime Minister have condemned the atrocity.
Liz Trubeshi, aged just16, of Holon and 26-year-old Nir Kat of Givatayim were named as the two young people murdered by a masked gun man at a meeting for young gay people within Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay district.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said: “the shocking murder carried out in Tel Aviv yesterday against youths and young people is a murder which a civilized and enlightened nation cannot accept.”
“Murder and hatred are the two most serious crimes in society. The police must exert great efforts in order to catch the despicable murderer, and the entire nation must unite in condemning this abominable act.”
Israeli media report that a masked gun man dressed head to toe in black entered the venue, underneath Cafe Noir in Tel Aviv, 28 Nachmani Street at the junction with Ahad Ha’am Street. He shot at least 14 people, spraying the interior of the club with automatic rifle fire and reportedly attempted to enter another venue. Media report that the venue was the scene of a “blood bath.”
Eyal Amit of the gay organisation holding the event told Israeli website Ynet: “For 15 years this place has served as a club belonging to the union for private rights. Today a teen meeting was taking place. At some point someone walked in and began firing left and right.”
Speaking ahead of this morning’s cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I spoke to the internal security minister this morning and asked him to act so that the murderer faces trial and so that the full force of the law is used against him.”
“I send my condolences to the families of the victims and wish the wounded a speedy recovery. I would like to take this opportunity to say to all of Israel’s citizens: We are a democratic country, a country of tolerance, a law-abiding state, and we will honour every person regardless of his or her beliefs.”
Tzipi Livni, the leader of Israeli opposition party Kadima said: “Hatred exists, and we need to deal with it. This difficult event must be a wake-up call for the society to shake off its prejudices, to accept and recognize the right of every person to a safe and dignified life.”
Openly gay Israeli MP Nitzan Horowitz said it was “without a doubt the biggest ever attack on the Israeli gay community, we are all in shock.”
In the early hours of this morning thousands of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) Israelis have held an impromptu march through the streets of Tel Aviv following the shooting. Gay bars and clubs were shut as a precaution for the rest of the night.
Police continue to hunt the gun man.
Homosexuality is legal in Israel and Tel Aviv is know for its vibrant gay nightlife.