Saturday, 1 August 2009

Three Shot Dead in Tel Aviv Gay Club

Photo by Yaron Brenen
22:44 Breaking news which I hope to keep updated as more becomes available.

Apparently a gun man opened fire in a gay club in Tel Aviv, Isreal this evening killing 2 and wounding up to 12 others.

According to Sky the shootings took place outside Cafe Noir in the liberal northern Isreali city which has a thriving gay community. I'm also picking up stories that the group that was targeted may well have been a youth facility for teenagers seeking support and that one young girl and a counsellor are the two who have died.

Police have ordered all the gay clubs in the city to close while they carry out a manhunt for the gunman.

22:56 Reuters are now confirming that it was indeed a support group for gay youths that suffered at the hands of the gunman. It was meeting in the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association building.

23:09 News via tweets from the streets of Tel Aviv is that the kids who are wounded are scared to call their parents as many of them are not out of the closet. The club was a safe place for them to discuss their sexuality. The deaths may end up being a double blow to the families of the victims.

23:30 Just flicked over to Sky News to watch Iain Dale and the paper review and the scrolling news is now reporting a third fatal victim of the incident. Confirmed by Assosiated Press.

23:48 Pictures from inside the room where the shootings took place are appearing WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT.

05:00 Hundreds took to the streets of Tel Aviv last night as a memorial to the dead within hours of the incident. The march took place from the scene of the incident to another gay centre in Meir Park. Revital, one of the participants, told the press:

"The feeling is terrifying. We live in a bubble, believing that everything is fine. This is an act of pure unfounded hatred, which leads to the murder of children for being gays and lesbians. It's very sad knowing that it's still so."

Although the ultra-othordox Shas party has condemned the killings. Others are pointing the finger at their leaderships open hatred of the gay community as leaving an sense of distrust.

Kfir Lavi, coordinator of the "You have someone to talk to" hotline, referred to the incident as a terror attack.

"What we are seeing here is persecution. This attack was against the activity of youth in the closet, against friends and those who have doubts.

"Someone came in intentionally, knowing what was taking place there and who were the people present there, and carried out the attack. People feel this could have happened anywhere. The finger on the trigger was against sexual identity. They intended to hurt people because of who and what they are. There is a feeling of persecution, because following the attack all the places were closed at the police's order. There is a feeling of lawlessness."

So the community took the action they felt was appropriate and showed solidarity.

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