Police investigating the 2009 double murder at Tel Aviv gay youth club Bar Noar said Wednesday that they have tapes of the suspected killer in which he apparently admits to the shooting.
Prime suspect Haggai Felician, 23, who is in police custody, was surreptitiously taped by a state informant discussing the shooting, saying, “We did it smoothly, no one found out, it was quiet for four years.”
In addition, Felician told the informant on the tapes that he carried out the attack because his 15-year-old relative was sexually assaulted by an LGBT activist well-known in the gay community.
Police also indicated they were close to issuing an indictment against Felician, though the investigation was ongoing.
Felician, who denies any involvement with the shooting, told investigators that he knew he was being taped. He said he intended to have the recordings played in front of the activist he suspected of molesting his relative in order to scare him in an attempt to squeeze money out of the activist.
Complicating matters, Felician’s relative, now 19 years old, denies he was ever molested.
Last Wednesday, four suspects were arrested in connection with the case: Felician, his relative, another accomplice, and the senior LGBT activist, whom the first three allegedly set out to kill.
On Tuesday, the court approved for publication Felician’s name and that of an accomplice, Tarlan Hankishayev, 26, both from the Pardes Katz neighborhood in Bnei Brak.
The court on Tuesday did not lift the gag order on the names of the intended target or the relative of the shooter.
Felician arrived at the club on the evening of August 1, 2009, thinking that the activist would be there, police said. However, despite discovering that the man wasn’t on the premises, he opened fire, killing counselor Nir Katz and 16-year-old Liz Trubeshi and wounding 11 others.
The arrest of Felician and his suspected accomplices marked a breakthrough in a case that had police stumped for almost four years. Until their identity and motives were known, police treated the case as a possible hate crime or terror attack.
Police were finally able to make headway in their investigation four months ago, when another person who was reportedly involved in planning the attack surrendered himself to police and turned state’s witness.
The witness told police that he was aware that the suspects intended to harm the alleged sexual molester, but not that they intended to kill him.
Asher Zeiger contributed to this report.