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Foreign Office condemns Tel Aviv gay killings

PinkNews Staff Writer August 4, 2009
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The British Foreign Office has condemned the killing of two gay people in a LGBT centre in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Two people were killed and a further 15 were injured on Saturday night when a gunman opened fire on the venue, which was holding a meeting for LGBT teenagers.

Those killed were named as Liz Trubeshi, 16, of Holon and 26-year-old Nir Kat of Givatayim.

Witnesses said the scene was like a “slaughterhouse”. According to reports, a masked gunman dressed head to toe in black entered the venue, underneath Cafe Noir in Nachmani Street. He sprayed the interior of the venue with automatic rifle fire and reportedly attempted to enter another venue.

No one has been arrested and police are said to be considering the possibility of an attack motivated by personal reasons, as well as homophobia.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We were shocked and saddened by the horrific attack on innocent people at the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday August 1st.

“Our condolences and sympathies go out to those who have suffered as a result of this outrage.

“Whilst the motives behind the attack have not yet been confirmed, the UK government deplores and condemns all instances of violence and discrimination against individuals and groups because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Israel is known for its tolerant stance towards its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, which makes this attack even more alarming. We welcome the Israeli authorities’ and civil society’s swift reaction and condemnation of the attack, including prime minister Netanyahu’s statement.”

However, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell criticised the Israeli prime minister for not mentioning that those killed and injured were gay and lesbian.

Tatchell told “I was disappointed that in his televised statement, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not acknowledge that the victims were gay and lesbian. He merely deplored the attack and promised that police would bring the killer to justice.

“That’s not really sufficient. It seems as though he was afraid to mention the fact they were gay and lesbian. Is this because he is dependent on the support of religious parties who are homophobic?”

A number of vigils have been held across the world in memory of those killed, while an impromptu march was held in Tel Aviv the day after the shooting.

Homosexuality is legal in Israel and Tel Aviv is know for its vibrant gay nightlife.

Related topics: Middle East

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