Lupolianski: Arab driver's family should be considered terror victims

French immigrant suspected of killing Taisir Karaki has remand extended 10 days.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST STAFF
May 14, 2007 18:28
2 minute read.
Lupolianski: Arab driver's family should be considered terror victims

tayseer Karaki arab taxi driver 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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25-year-old Julian Sofir, the prime suspect in the Tel Aviv murder of Arab taxi driver Taisir Karaki, was remanded for a further ten days in custody on Tuesday. Sofir's brother, Yonatan, who was with Julian when he confessed to the crime, was remanded for two more days. The prime suspect, who claimed that he carried out the killing because the victim was an Arab, was also sent for psychological observation by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court. Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski urged for Karaki's family to be recognized as victims of terror. Lapolianski called on the Jerusalem Municipality's welfare department to give financial aid to the family. "The murder of a man just because he is an Arab is a terrorist act," said Jerusalem's mayor. "I have asked the welfare department not just to keep in contact with the family but to give them all the necessary aid," he said, adding that "the government must give them the same support as those who have been wounded in terrorist attacks." Meanwhile, police feared revenge attacks against Jews in the wake of Monday's brutal murder and drivers in the taxi station where the 35-year-old Arab victim worked told Army Radio that they feared for their lives. Chief Superintendent Nissim Bracha, commander of police investigations, told Army Radio that because of the strong suspicion that the murder was a hate crime, police forces had been reinforced in the Tel Aviv area. Arab MKs blamed the threats against Arabs in Israel for the taxi driver's death. "The dehumanization and incitement by the right wing against the Arab population give a stamp of approval for violent attacks of this nature and makes the blood of Arabs cheap," Army Radio quoted Arab MKs as saying. The two suspects - brothers who had recently emigrated from France - were arrested by police after one of them confessed to murdering a man in their Rehov Yonah Hanavi apartment earlier Monday. Police suspicions were raised when, while on patrol, they noticed the two brothers loitering in the middle of Allenby Street and detained them for questioning. Although they originally thought the brothers might have been planning a crime, police said they were surprised when one of the brothers confessed during questioning that he had murdered someone in the center of Tel Aviv. He led police to his apartment, where they found the body of Karaki, 35, lying in a pool of blood with his throat slit. Karaki, a resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, had been working as a taxi driver. Police said they believe the lead suspect, went to Jerusalem to find an Arab taxi driver, and then after hiring Karaki to drive him back to Tel Aviv, lured him upstairs into his apartment and slashed his throat. A background check on the suspect and his family revealed that none of them had previous criminal records. Police added Monday night that they did not think the suspects had any prior connection with the victim. Once it seemed probable that the murder was a hate crime, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) joined the police special investigative team already assigned to the case.

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