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Ultra-Orthodox man charged with murder for stabbing 16-year-old girl to death and wounding five others at Gay Pride parade

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Yishai Shlissel was detained after the attack
Yishai Shlissel was detained after the attack

An ultra-Orthodox man has been charged with murder in Israel for stabbing a 16-year-old girl to death and wounding five others at a Gay Pride parade.

Yishai Shlissel, who was released from prison only three weeks before the stabbing for a similar attack, mentioned the name of the 16-year-old girl killed during his appearance at the court that charged him.

“The pride parade must be stopped in order for the soul of Shira Banki to ascend to heaven,” Shlissel (39) and with a long beard, told the court in Jerusalem.

“If you care for her well-being… you must stop cursing against God. The parade marchers are bringing great harm upon the nation of Israel.”

Besides the murder accusation, Shlissel was also charged with aggravated assault and six counts of attempted murder over the attack on the march last month in Jerusalem, the justice ministry said.

Shlissel has so far refused the help of a lawyer and said he does not accept the court’s authority, but a psychiatric exam has found him fit to stand trial.

Three weeks before the 30 July stabbing, Shlissel was released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence for a similar attack that left three people wounded.

He had also 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, even at the cost of one’s life.

The attack has led to criticism of the Israeli security forces, with many questioning how Shlissel was allowed anywhere near the parade. The attack occurred in Jerusalem’s city centre as hundreds were participating in the march.

An unrelated attack hours later on 31 July that saw a Palestinian home in the West Bank firebombed, killing an 18-month-old child and his father, focussed further attention on Jewish extremism.