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Girl, 16, dies of wounds suffered in attack on Jerusalem gay pride parade

Stabbing attack

A man later identified as suspect Yishai Shlissel raises a knife at a gay pride parade in central Jerusalem. The girl on the right, with the flowers in her hair, later died of her wounds.

(Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press)

A 16-year-old high school student died of her wounds Sunday, three days after being critically injured in an attack on a gay pride parade, Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem announced.

Shira Banki was taking part in the parade on Keren Hayesod Street in central Jerusalem on Thursday when a man emerged from behind and stabbed her and five others. Chilling photographs show the teenager with a festive garland on her head, unaware of the danger as the assailant raised his hand with the knife.

Authorities quickly arrested Yishai Schlissel, an ultraorthodox Jew who had been released from jail just three weeks before after serving a 10-year term for a similar knife attack on gay pride parade revelers in 2005.

On Friday, Schlissel was brought before a judge, who ordered he remain under arrest for 12 days. He has not yet been charged, but will likely face a murder count as well as attempted murder.

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Schlissel said he did not recognize the authority of the court because it did not follow religious rule.

A special team appointed by the Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan to examine police handling of security for the parade and Schlissel’s dangerous potential was set to begin its work Sunday, and Erdan promised it would conclude its work swiftly and make its findings public.

Extending his condolences to her family, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Shira was killed “because she courageously supported the principle that everyone is entitled to live their lives in dignity and safety.”

Calling the killing “abhorrent,” Netanyahu condemned the attempt to “instill hatred in our midst” and pledged to deal with Shira’s killer “to the fullest extent of the law.”

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A vigil in the teenager’s memory was called for Sunday evening in downtown Jerusalem, not far from the site of the attack.

The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, recently broke for summer recess but is set to convene a special plenum discussion Wednesday to discuss the one-two punch of the fatal attack on the pride parade and the tragic results of an attack on a Palestinian family on Friday.

The arson attack on the Dawabshe home in the West Bank village of Duma killed an 18-month-old boy, Ali, and gravely injured his parents and 4-year-old brother. Jewish extremists are suspected.

The parents remain in critical condition in separate Israeli hospitals. Doctors at the Sheba Medical Center reported some improvement in the boy’s condition Sunday but stressed that he faced long months of recovery from extensive burns.

Sobelman is a special correspondent.


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