Israeli Man Found Beaten to Death in Berlin

Passersby found man beaten 'beyond identification' near Alexanderplatz across from a courthouse in the Mitte neighborhood; police could not immediately verify whether the Israeli passport belongs to the victim.

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The badly beaten body of a young man carrying an Israeli passport was found in the ruins of a Franciscan church in central Berlin earlier this week, it emerged on Wednesday.

The Israeli embassy in Germany confirmed that the man was an Israeli citizen, though identification took time as he was beaten beyond recognition.

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Passersby found the body on Sunday sprawled behind a stone wall next to an iron fence near Alexanderplatz, across from a courthouse in the Mitte neighborhood. The area is known to be frequented by homeless and alcoholics.

The passport found in the man's pocket contained full identification details, but the Berlin police said it was not initially clear whether the passport belonged to the victim as he could not be properly identified.

"The man's face was destroyed beyond recognition," a police investigator told the German tabloid Bild.

Berlin police have released an official statement requesting public assistance in the murder investigation and calling on anyone who may have visited the church area over the Easter holiday between 8 P.M. Saturday and 6 A.M. Sunday and seen something unusual to contact investigators immediately.

The Israeli embassy in Berlin has been updated on all of the details and is dealing with the incident.