(photo credit: Israel Police)
A mentally disturbed 48-year-old Israeli man who was meditating in downtown Jerusalem killed one man and seriously wounded another in a shooting spree early Tuesday morning.
Yoel Almog Dazanshvili, the suspect in the attacks, which left an Arab resident of the city dead and a Jewish resident gravely wounded, was arrested and sent for a psychiatric evaluation, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
Dazanshvili is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union who said he converted to Judaism 11 years ago. He was apprehended after shooting a religious Jew at the corner of Rehov Harav Kook and Rehov Hanev'im shortly after 3 a.m, police said.
At the end of his interrogation, the suspect stunned investigators by telling them that earlier, he had shot dead another man at Kikar Tzahal, near the Jaffa Gate, and led police to the corpse, which had been laying unnoticed overnight in a grassy area near the intersection.
The dead man was identified as Amjad Abu Hadar, 33, of the northeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. The father of four children aged six to 13, he worked at a hotel and restaurant in the capital.
The suspect, who lived in Jerusalem's Kol Ya'acov Kollel for the past five years, told investigators that he shot Abu Hadar while he was meditating because he "felt threatened," and then, after stopping for midnight meditation in the Old City's Jewish Quarter, opened fire on the Jewish man who had asked him for a cigarette, due to the same fear of "being attacked," Ben-Ruby said.
The kippa-wearing victim was shot at close range. He was rushed to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, where he was being treated for head injuries. Another Jewish man who was walking with him was not injured.
The assailant, who had no criminal record, was granted a gun license in 1989, a permit that is reviewed every three months, the Interior Ministry said. It was due to expire next year.
Police said the motive for the attacks was under investigation, but that they were not "nationalistically motivated."
The suspect was remanded in custody for seven days by a Jerusalem court.