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Israel LGBT center killings get fresh twist

Teen whose alleged rape triggered shooting reveals identity on television to deny motive, defend arrested brother
The LGBT center in Tel Aviv where a shootout in 2009 resulted in two persons' death.

Four years after a shooting spree in a Tel Aviv LGBT center killed two and injured nearly a dozen, the tragedy has received a fresh twist with the police theory that it was a revenge attack for rape rejected by the alleged victim on television.

Binyamin Felician, now 19, appeared on Israel’s Channel 10 News to rebut the police claim that he had been raped by the founder of the Bar Noar center, Shaul Gonen, which propelled his elder brother Hagai to storm the center in August 2009 and fire at random.

It was only in June this year that investigators claimed a breakthrough and arrested four people: Binyamin, Hagai, a male accomplice as well as Gonen.

The police claim Hagai was behind the shootings and his intended victim was Gonen, who however, escaped.

They also say the arrests were made partly based on the account of another accomplice, who had believed the attack would be nothing more than beating up Gonen, and turned a state witness after it became far more deadly.

Following a brief period of house arrest, Gonen was released uncharged as he signed a statement saying he had a sexual relationship with Binyamin, which provided a motive for the carnage. However, Gonen, who has been accused of rape by a trans person in a separate incident, denied the allegation of sexual attacks.

Since Binyamin was a minor during the shooting, his identity was not disclosed.

However, this week, the 19-year-old and his lawyers approached the Tel Aviv magistrate’s court, asking for the gag on his identity to be released.

They have also asked that the identity of the state witness be disclosed so they can dispute the witness’ account.

‘I am in a bad state (as) my brother is in prison, wanted for murder, when I know for a fact that he’s innocent,” Binyamin reportedly said on Channel 10 News.

‘I will never be ashamed because I have nothing to be ashamed of. I wanted my name released because (the alleged rape) never happened.’

Binyamin Felician has been charged with trying to obtain a gun through the state’s witness while Hagai Felician has been indicted of the killing of Liz Trubishi, 16, and Nir Katz, 26, as well as 10 counts of attempted murder.

Police say the casualties would have been higher had not the gunman run out of ammunition.

 

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