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Witness tells ‘Uvda’: Brother of Bar Noar murder suspect linked to 2006 killing of police informant
By BEN HARTMAN
04/12/2013
According to interview on Channel 2 program, Yaakov Felician was involved in death of Ayal Salhov seven years ago.
 
The brother of the suspect in the Bar Noar LGBT center shooting played a role in the slaying of a high-level police informant in 2006, according to testimony by a witness aired on the Channel 2 program Uvda on Monday night.

The witness is also shown saying he told police investigators he knew Yaakov Felician, brother of Bar Noar murder suspect Hagai Felician, was involved in the killing of informant Ayal Salhov, Yaakov’s closest childhood friend, but that police did not follow up on the testimony and determined he was not a trustworthy witness.

The story becomes more complicated because the witness in question is also the key witness in the Bar Noar killings, a man upon whom the state has built almost their entire case against Hagai Felician. According to the Uvda episode, that same witness was determined by police to be not trustworthy when it came to the murder of Ayal Salhov, killed by a single gunshot wound to the head in a remote area of Pardess Katz on October 7, 2006.

Salhov’s murder is a lingering sore spot for Israeli police, an embarrassing affair in which they were unable to protect a state witness from being killed by his associates, even though he had told them repeatedly he feared that they were onto him and his days were numbered. In fact, when Salhov told his handlers he feared he’d been exposed, they arranged for him to throw a hand grenade at Central District Police headquarters in Ramle, a stunt that instead proved to his associates that he was working with police, according to the witness interviewed by Uvda.

At the time of Salhov’s death, the head of the Central District’s investigative branch was future Israel Police chief Dudi Cohen, and the head of the intelligence and investigations department was current chief Yohanan Danino.

Salhov was a high-ranking associate in Avi Ruhan’s crime family. He’d started out in his adolescence as a low level Pardess Katz criminal, pulling burglaries and selling drugs and firearms in the neighborhood. Over the years Salhov’s reputation grew and he became one of Ruhan’s top men, all the while he had at his side his best friend – Yaakov Felician.

Salhov’s widow is also a sister of the Felician brothers.

In the year before his death, Salhov became an informant for the Central District Police, giving them an inside line on the Ruhan gang for several months until things began to fall apart.

On the Uvda episode, the witness says he was at Yaakov Felician’s apartment in Ramat Gan years ago when he accidentally happened upon a video of the murder of Salhov playing on Felician’s computer.

He also said Felician panicked when he thought that he had lost the gun that killed Salhov. The program also includes Salhov’s father telling the cameras he suspects Felician played a role in his son’s death.

Yaakov and Hagai’s brother Benny was also arrested on suspicion of taking part in the Bar Noar killings but was later released and not indicted. According to police, the motive for the murders was a sexual assault Benny experienced at the hands of the manager of the Bar Noar at the time. In July, another Felician brother, 15-year-old Or, died after falling from a construction site in Bnei Brak.

Yaakov was also arrested over the summer for the rape of a female attorney, but was later released to house arrest.

On Monday, hours before the episode aired, Israel Police sent out an email saying the program “represents two serious violations – firstly of the journalistic ethic requiring that you attain a response before making a criticism, and secondly an apparent violation of the gag order on the case.”

“Contrary to Uvda, we are required to observe the gag order dealing with the investigation and therefore are unable to contest the material presented,” the police statement continued. “The promo [for the show] says they have a recording that will shake the police brass. It’s fitting to say at this juncture that no one in the police is shaking. These are issues we know well, and due to the gag order over the case, we are not able to elaborate further.”
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