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Israeli police: Killer opened fire indiscriminately in 2009 shooting

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Police have arrested a fourth person, described as an activist in the gay community, in connection with the 2009 shooting at a queer centre in Tel Aviv that left two people dead and several others injured, Haaretz reports.

While most of the details of the investigation are still under a gag order, Haaretz reports that the fourth arrestee, who police believe was the intended target of the shooting, was detained for allegedly knowing the motive for the murders and obstructing the investigation by withholding information. Three other suspects were arrested June 5 in connection with the killings and appeared in court June 6 along with the fourth person. All have denied any connection to the shooting, Haaretz says.

The report says that only one shooter went to the Bar-Noar youth club, did not find his target, and "opened fire indiscriminately," killing Liz Trubeshi, 16, and counsellor Nir Katz, 27, who were in "the wrong place at the wrong time."

Haaretz says police believe at least two people conspired with the reportedly hired killer and aided him after the shooting. All three are known criminals, with the shooter and at least one accomplice described as "soldiers" in an Israeli crime organization. They were questioned after the Bar-Noar murders for arson and assault, police reportedly said.

Following the murders, Tel Aviv Central Unit detectives were granted an "unlimited budget" for an investigation that reportedly became one of the most expensive ever conducted in the country, Haaretz says, noting that more than 1,000 people were questioned.

In the wake of the shooting, Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) proposed a widely supported bill to compensate the shooting's casualties, on the assumption that it was a hate-motivated crime against gays. 

Haaretz says it has learned that the minister is now waiting for the investigation to unfold more fully before pushing the measure forward. According to Haaretz and Y Net, police believe the motive for the shooting may be a personal vendetta.

Meanwhile, thousands turned out to participate in Tel Aviv's Pride parade today. Among those who took part in the events were Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau, hailed as the first gay couple to get married in France, which became the 14th country in the world to legalize same-sex marrriage.

The developments in the investigation into the 2009 shooting were on the minds of Pride participants. "Innocents were murdered, and it doesn't matter what the motives were," Gay Star News quotes Tel Aviv councilman Yaniv Weizman as saying. "This was a defining moment in the history of the state and of the community which remains an open wound. It serves as a reminder to us all of the importance of taking to the streets."

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