Suspicions of Infidelity Turn Deadly in Netivot Murder-suicide

A man shot and killed another man and then committed suicide yesterday in a hairdressing salon in the southern city of Netivot.

Police said the killer, Meir Zamir, a father of two who worked as a bank security guard, believed the other man, Sasson Biton, was his wife's lover. An eyewitness said he saw Zamir in the city's open-air market, where the salon is located just before the killing.

"I said hello and he waved to me," the witness said. "He looked calm... Two or three minutes later I heard shots and screaming. I ran to the place, which is right nearby, and saw the two men lying there with blood all over."

A friend of Biton's told Haaretz that about six months ago Biton had told him a woman had began flirting with him at the hairdresser's and told him she was divorced. "A week later, he came to my work place very upset," having discovered the woman was married. The friend said Biton tried to break it off and eventually did so.

He said Biton asked the woman to go back to her husband, and that even if she were divorced he would not want to pursue the relationship so as not to be seen as the cause of the breakup of the marriage. The friend said Biton had ended the relationship completely before Passover.

Biton's family said yesterday they did not know Zamir and had not been aware that Biton had been having an affair with a married woman. They also seemed to have difficulty believing that Biton had been murdered, suggesting the victim had to be someone else.

"He loved to laugh and used to do volunteer appearances for soldiers," a relative said, adding that Biton was an amateur DJ.

Cases of security guards, who are issued weapons from their work place, committing murder following a personal crisis have become more common in Israel in recent years. Since 2004, seven murders have been committed by security guards. Three weeks ago a Jerusalem resident who had been a security guard for the Electric Corporation was arrested after he shot a man to death in Tzahal Square in the capital. The man used the gun issued by the security company he worked for.