Israeli teen stabbed at pride parade dies; gov’t facing pressure
A teenager stabbed at a Gay Pride march died of her injuries Sunday as the attack and a firebombing that killed a Palestinian child put pressure on Israel to crack down on Jewish extremists.
Shira Banki, 16, was among six people stabbed at the Jerusalem march on Thursday by a suspect identified as an ultra-Orthodox Jew released from prison only weeks earlier for a similar attack.
The five other victims suffered light injuries.
Banki’s family said Shira had been murdered because “she came to support the rights of her friends and any person to live as they wish.”
“For no reason and due to evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our wonderful flower was cut off,” they said in a statement.
Hundreds of mourners, including classmates, teachers, members of the LGBT community and supporters, held a vigil for Banki at Zion Square near the spot where she was stabbed.
They lit candles while music she loved was played through speakers and pictures of her were projected on a large screen, an AFP photographer said.
The suspect of the attack, Yishai Shlissel, had stabbed and wounded three people at the 2005 Gay Pride march in Jerusalem. He served 10 years in prison and was released just three weeks ago.
Before the latest assault he posted a letter on the Internet speaking of the “abomination” of a Gay Pride parade being held in the Holy City and the need to stop it.
Police formed a committee following harsh criticism over how Shlissel — who has told the court he did not accept its authority — was allowed near the march so soon after his release from jail.
On Friday morning, hours after the march, assailants suspected of being Jewish settlers firebombed a Palestinian family’s home in the West Bank, killing an 18-monthold toddler.
The attacks have put a spotlight on Jewish extremists, and the firebombing further inflamed tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, with clashes breaking out in various cities.
On Sunday morning, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s Al- Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, though calm was later restored.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned both attacks and called the firebombing “terrorism” — a word usually used by Israelis to refer to violence by Palestinians. On Sunday, he spoke of “zero tolerance” for such acts.
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes at the entrance to Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Sunday, Aug. 2.