Police are considering the possibility that the brutal slaying of a prominent Christian community figure in Jaffa on Friday was driven by a dispute over real estate.

Four members of a Christian-Arab family remain in police custody over the stabbing murder of Gabriel Cadis, 61, who was chairman of the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association.

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6 arrested in stabbing of top Christian figure

The attacker, disguised as Santa Claus, stabbed Cadis during a procession to mark the Orthodox Christmas, before fleeing.

The murder has stunned members of the Christian community of Jaffa.

The suspects are all members of the Abu Maneh family.

“The suspects have been in a past dispute with the murder victim,” a police source said on Sunday. “The possibility of a financially motivated crime is being considered.”

The Walla Internet news agency said the Abu Maneh family and the Church Association had been involved in a prolonged legal dispute surrounding real estate ownership.

One of the suspects, Talal Abu Maneh, ran for the position of chairman of the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association twice, and lost to Cadis on each occasion, the report added.

The last round of elections took place last month.