Ultra-Orthodox Jew stabs at least 6 at Jerusalem gay pride parade

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Participants hold rainbow flags during the 12th annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem August 1, 2013. © Ronen Zvulun
At least six people were stabbed at an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem on Thursday, local media reported, citing Israeli police and paramedics. The suspected attacker, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, has been arrested.

Police said that six people have been injured, adding that two of them were in serious condition.

"We were prepared for every scenario, but our perimeter was breached. This is a severe, hard incident, which required us to investigate to find out what fault cause this breach," Jerusalem District Police chief Moshe Edry, who told the Jerusalem Post he had no idea about the presence of the suspected stabber

The attacker is ultra-Orthodox Jew Yishai Schlisse – a follower of Haredi Judaism, which rejects modern secular culture.

He had been recently released from jail after serving a 10-year prison sentence. He was initially sentenced to 12 years in jail for attempted murder, but then the Supreme Court of Israel shortened his sentence.

Before committing the stabbing in 2005 he reportedly shouted, “I came to kill in God’s name.” Since his release he had campaigned in his hometown Modiin Ilit to cancel the parade, handing out hand-written leaflets.

Zoe Schochet, 18, who took part in the parade, was talking to one of the victims when the assailant stabbed him in the back.

It was really scary,” she told The Times of Israel, adding that the man was bearded and was dressed in black.

"We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground,” Shai Aviyor, a witness, told Israel's Channel 2 TV.

In the meantime, Oded Fried, the head of a prominent gay rights society told Reuters that the parade will continue in future years despite the incident.

"Our struggle for equality only intensifies in the face of such events," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack on Gay Pride parade.

“It’s a most grave incident,” he said. “We will mete out justice to those responsible for the act. In the state of Israel freedom of choice of the individual is one of the basic values. We must ensure that in Israel every man and woman will live in security with whichever way they choose to live.”

According to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, “the stabbing at the gay pride parade is a moral crime that cannot be forgiven.”

“Whoever committed this crime harmed Jewish values and ethics and needs to get the most severe punishment,” he said.