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Members of the gay community had reportedly sensed for weeks that police had solved the murder of Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trobishi, 16, which occured in early August at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv. That feeling was based on a report - under gag order until yesterday - that a suspect, Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, had been arrested.

Mike Hamel, the head of Israel's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Association, said: "We had hoped the police had indeed caught the murderer, but now it turns out that he is not connected to this murder, although he confessed to it." Hamel said that police informed him over the past few weeks that they had a suspect who had implicated himself in a number of acts and the distribution of posters in Jerusalem against the gay community, but that the person in custody was not himself suspected of the murder.

Following the initial suspicions that Teitel had been involved in the murder, Gal Uchovsky, a journalist, filmmaker and leader of the gay community, wrote in a widely circulated e-mail: "As it seems now, the police have a suspect and he is a member of the lunatic right. I suggest, if I may, that we all restrain our responses. If we want to leverage public sympathy, we must express ourselves on this issue moderately and not heatedly, and give the other side a chance for introspection." Uchovsky later found a way around the gag order, publishing his e-mail, with the necessary changes, in his column in the entertainment magazine Time Out.

Yesterday Uchovsky said: "A man who boasts of a murder he did not commit is crazy. It is very unfortunate that someone in Israel wants to boast that he murdered gays. I really hope the group from which he comes will disown him and that its leaders will make clear that they do not think the way he does."