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Israeli Police Hunt for Tel Aviv Gay Club Gunman


Two people have been killed and at least 11 wounded in a rare attack on a gay community center in Israel.

Gays demonstrated on the streets of Tel Aviv after a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a gay club for teens.

"We won't be afraid," they chanted.

According to witnesses, the unidentified gunman, wearing a mask, stormed into the club and began shooting in all directions. Then he fled. Hundreds of Israeli police have launched a manhunt for the assailant.

Authorities are describing the attack as a hate crime.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed shock, and called for tolerance. He said the shooting is a violation of Israel's democratic values.

Tel Aviv prides itself as a liberal and pluralistic city, which is open to everyone, and it has a thriving gay community. Thousands participate in the annual Gay Pride parade with colorful balloons and dancing in the streets. But gay activist Yaniv Weisman says times have suddenly changed.

"The gay community in Israel, in Tel Aviv, got a message, a very strong message, a red light, that Israel, Tel Aviv (is) no longer a safe place to no one," Weisman said.

While ultra-Orthodox parties condemned the shooting attack, critics say religious incitement against the gay community can lead to violence.


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