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Israel gay shooting breakthrough announced

Tel Aviv police announced a significant development in their investigation into the 2009 shooting at the city's gay youth center
Tel-Aviv police announced a breakthrough in their investigation into the 2009 shooting at the city's LGBT centre

Tel Aviv Police stated they have made a significant advancement in their investigation into the August 2009 shooting at the Bar Noar gay youth center that left two dead and 15 wounded.

The police, however, stated on Monday (17 December) that the development is not necessarily a breakthrough.

Tel Aviv Police chief, Aharon Aksol, said that he remains hopeful that the advancement could crack the case that has remained unsolved for the past three years.

Aksol also said that the specific details regarding the advancement are banned from publication under a gag order.

At around 11pm on 1 August 2009, a masked gunman entered Tel Aviv's LGBT centre, where the youth centre is located, and opened fire with a pistol on teenagers holding their weekly ‘LGBT Youth Get Together’ event.

The gunman killed Nir Katz, a 26 year-old volunteer and counsellor at the center, and Liz Trobishi, 16 year old teenager.

An additional 15 people, most of them teenagers, were injured in the shooting, six of them with serious injuries.

The shooter’s exact motive still remains unclear. Tel Aviv’s LGBT community largely suspects the killer had a homophobic motive while police have cautioned people that the attack may not have been a hate crime and that the motive remains unknown.

Following the shooting police has launched unprecedented investigative efforts with reports of similar breakthroughs emerging every few months but with no effect.

The shooting was unanimously condemned by politicians throughout Israel’s political spectrum, with Nitzan Horowitz, an openly gay Member of Knesset, calling it the worst attack against the gay community in Israel's history.

Immediately following the event protests and vigils were held across Israel and internationally to mark the most violent attack against Israel’s LGBT community. 

The event deeply shocked the LGBT community in Tel Aviv which thought of the city as a 'safe haven' for gays and lesbians. 'The biggest shock is to think that it happened in Tel Aviv, which is the most tolerant city in the country', told Avi Sofer, a gay rights activist, at the time to Reuters.

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