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Jewish agency launches inquiry into fatal hotel shooting

JTA

October 5, 2012 | 9:41 am

Israeli soldiers near an entrance to a hotel at the Red Sea resort city of Eilat on Oct. 5. Photo by REUTERS/Storm Communications

Israeli soldiers near an entrance to a hotel at the Red Sea resort city of Eilat on Oct. 5. Photo by REUTERS/Storm Communications

The Jewish Agency is opening an inquiry into its Oranim program after an American participant gunned down a hotel employee in Eilat.

"In response to the tragic incident in Eilat, the Chairperson of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky expressed his deep sorrow at the loss of life and has appointed a panel to examine the processes by which the American participant was accepted to the Oranim program in Eilat," a statement said Friday.

The shooter, identified in Israeli media only as being Jewish, in his 20s and from New York City, was killed by Israeli soldiers shortly after he gunned down a hotel worker in Eilat and holed up in a hotel room.

Israel Radio reported that the soldiers rushed to the hotel Friday morning after the tourist used the firearm of a security guard at Eilat’s Leonardo Club Hotel to kill an employee in the hotel’s dining room.

Y-Net identified the victim as Armando Abed, a 33-year-old sous-chef from Mi'ilya in the Western Galilee.

The soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces anti-terrorist unit surrounded the room in which the man was holed up after the shooting, reports said. Police negotiated with him to surrender but the soldiers shot and killed him after he opened fire on police negotiators.

The man was in Israel as part of an exchange program for American young people and had reportedly recently been fired as a hotel employee.

"The Oranim program is one of 200 long term programs which are funded by Masa Israel, a joint project of the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel," the Jewish Agency said in its statement. "Since 2003, over 70,000 young Jews from around the world have participated in Masa programs, which include volunteer work, study and internships."

The shooter reportedly arrived in the morning hours to hotel’s kitchen, where he began fighting with the employee whom he killed.

He reportedly snatched a firearm from a female security guard who arrived at the kitchen to break up the fight.

He escaped with the firearm and holed up in one of the rooms, police said, adding that he did not take any hostages with him.

The incident may have started over a financial dispute between the two dead men, according to Israel Radio.

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