Police Believe Key Witness in 2009 Tel Aviv Gay Center Shooting Lied During Testimony

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Police increasingly suspect a key witness in the investigation of a 2009 shooting at a Tel Aviv gay youth center lied during his testimony to them, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

The witness, who was arrested last week and brought in for questioning, had his detention extended Tuesday by seven days, and is not cooperating with investigators.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan is expected to hold a decisive meeting on the case at 4 P.M. Tuesday.

The witness, a gay activist, is believed to have been the original target of the shooting at the Barnoar center, which appears to have been meant as a revenge attack rather than a hate crime. Additional details about the motive and the case are under gag order.

Police suspect that Hagai Felician, the prime suspect in the case, was a hired gunman who opened fire indiscriminately in August 2009 when he did not find his target, killing Liz Trubeshi, 16, and youth counselor Nir Katz, 27, and wounding dozens.

"We will make every effort to uncover the truth, or in other words, no innocents will be prosecuted," Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said last week. Danino added that police were working to clarify their doubts in the case, and if their doubts are substantiated the proceedings would end.

Police last week arrested the state witness, after new evidence in the case undermined his credibility – to the degree that both they and prosecutors believe there may be no choice but to close the case against Felician.

The state witness in the Barnoar shooting in court, February 20, 2014.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

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