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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Israelis held over 'hate' murder
Julian Soufir in court
Soufir confessed to the killing and showed no sign of remorse in court
Two Israeli brothers have been detained in connection with the stabbing to death of a Palestinian taxi driver in an apparent hate crime, police said.

Julian Soufir, 25, has been ordered to be held for 10 days and his brother, Jonathan, 21, for three days.

One of the suspects had confessed the attack was anti-Arab and nationalist in nature, a police spokesman said.

Taysir Karaki's body was found at Julian's flat after the brothers were observed acting suspiciously on Monday.

The 35-year-old father of five was buried on Tuesday in Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem.

Demonisation and incitement against the Arab public give this kind of act its legitimisation. Turning words into actions was just a matter of time
Said Naffaa
Israeli Arab MP

Police investigators said they believed Julian Soufir went to Jerusalem to hunt for an Arab taxi driver.

He is believed to have hired Karaki to drive him back to Tel Aviv, then he lured him into the apartment and killed him.

Jonathan Soufir is not a suspect in the murder, but is suspected of complicity.

Recent arrivals

Julian Soufir's lawyer asked the court to refer him to psychiatric observation.

During the hearing the defendant smiled, clapped and rolled his eyes and stuck his tongue out at photographers.

The brothers are recent immigrants to Israel from France, under the country's law of return which allows Jewish applicants Israeli citizenship.

The Jerusalem mayor's office said the Karaki family should be considered "victims of terrorism" and would receive financial assistance from the state.

Israeli Arab MP Said Naffaa blamed the killing on growing hostility towards Arabs in Israel today.

"Demonisation and incitement against the Arab public give this kind of act its legitimisation. Turning words into actions was just a matter of time," he told Y-Net news.




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