Haifa shooter turns himself in; possible terror motive suspected

Police suspect a nationally motivated attack in pair of shootings on Tuesday

By
January 5, 2017 17:23
2 minute read.
Shooting on Hagiborim street in Haifa

Shooting on Hagiborim street in Haifa, Jan. 3, 2017. (photo credit: EFFY SCHNAPPER/ MDA)

 
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The suspect in two separate Haifa shootings, that left one dead and one seriously injured, turned himself in Thursday evening, more than 24 hours after the incident.

Earlier on Thursday, the body of Guy Cafri, 47, who was killed in the shooting on Tuesday was laid to rest in Moshav Ofer. Cafri was killed and Yechiel Illouz, 48, a judge on the Haifa Rabbinical Court was seriously injured in the pair of shootings, which shook the coastal city.

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On Thursday police raided an abandoned home in the neighborhood of Halisa, searching for the suspect. According to multiple Hebrew media reports, police suspect nationalistic motivations for the shootings. A Coastal District Police spokesman confirmed that the police have identified a suspect, however, declined to comment on the investigation stating that “all leads are being investigated”.

The first shooting occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Ha’atzma’ut street, where Rabbi Yechiel Illouz, was seriously injured after being shot multiple times and was evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center. The police were attempting to locate the gunman when a second shooting occurred on Hagiborim Street around 10:20 a.m. Cafri, 47, was fatally wounded and pronounced dead on the scene by Magen David Adom medics.

Initially police suspected a criminal motive for the pair of shootings and the victims - who are not known to police as persons of interests - were shot in a case of mistaken identity. Yet, as the case developed nationalistic motivations have become the central suspicion.

’All the evidence points to Guy being murdered, murdered because he was Jewish - a nationalist motivation,” Cafri’s brother in law, Shachar Drori, said at the funeral according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.

However according to family and friends that spoke with Channel 2 the suspect, whose name remains under gag order, is not the type of person they would expect to commit a murder.



“He does not a mold of someone who murderers innocent people in the streets," the mother of the shooting suspect told Channel 2 on Thursday, “I’m going through a very difficult period following this manhunt.”

The suspects mother, brother, and girlfriend have been investigated by police. All of them reportedly said that they had no contact with the suspect since Tuesday. 

The gag order on the suspect’s name sparked criticism of the police among Haifa residents who fear an alleged shooter in their midst and want to assist the police in their search. However a police spokesperson commented “the public should help only if they are asked”. In the past police have declined to release details of an investigation to maintain an element of surprise on the suspect.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

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