Police have arrested two men in their 30s on suspicion of involvement in the fatal shooting of off-duty soldier Idal Mansour at a Haifa nightclub early Saturday morning.
Another man and a woman were also detained for questioning in connection with the killing of Mansour, 20, from the village of Usfiya on Mount Carmel.
The young soldier from the predominantly Druse village just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when criminal elements opened fire toward the entrance of the Roko Beach nightclub on Haifa's Hof Hacarmel beach promenade.
The incident unfolded a few hours earlier when a group of revellers were denied entrance by security guards after trying to force their way into the nightclub without undergoing necessary security checks.
According to police, the group of men left the scene only to return an hour or so later and opened fire with two pistols at the entrance to the nightclub. Police reported that around 20 bullets were fired in total. Mansour, who had gone to the nightclub for a night out during a break from his IDF duties, was unfortunately caught in the line of fire.
Magen David Adom paramedics treated the wounded off-duty soldier and took him by ambulance to the nearby Rambam Hospital, where he died on the operating table.
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra told The Jerusalem Post that every effort was being made by police to crack down on violence. He stressed that the police and the owners of the nightclub had done their jobs properly and professionally despite the tragic outcome.
Ezra, chairman of an inter-ministerial committee set up by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to deal with violence generally and at places of entertainment in particular, said it was essential to start from the beginning.
"Education starts at home as well as in schools, and it is essential that children be taught the lesson of respect for other human beings and of non-violence," said Ezra.
The Roko Beach shooting follows a similar incident earlier this year in which a security guard was shot to death outside a Haifa club, apparently by a man refused entry to the popular night spot.
The owners of Roko Beach claimed that the police had been contacted immediately after the group had first been refused entry. Police sources confirmed that a call had been received and said a patrol car had been sent to the scene, but left when it appeared that there were no signs of criminal activity.
In a separate incident in Haifa on Friday, a man in his 60s apparently tried to break up a fight in the city's Hadar district and suffered a fatal heart attack. Police are investigating that incident.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, the body of a 30-year-old prisoner on furlough was found Friday night in an apartment in the Shapira neighborhood. A 55-year-old woman, reportedly the convict's girlfriend, and another man were arrested by police. The convict had been stabbed several times in his upper body. Police suspect his girlfriend murdered him after they got into an argument several days ago.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.