New York man shoots, kills chef at Israeli hotel - New York News

New York man shoots, kills chef at Israeli hotel

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Israeli soldiers secure the area near the site of a shooting incident at a hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, Israel, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. A young American opened fire in a hotel in Eilat Friday.(AP Photo/Eliraz Getah) Israeli soldiers secure the area near the site of a shooting incident at a hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, Israel, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. A young American opened fire in a hotel in Eilat Friday.(AP Photo/Eliraz Getah)
MYFOXNY.COM -

An American, reported to be from New York, shot and killed a chef at a hotel in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat Friday, before forces from an anti-terror unit shot the gunman dead, police said. The incident appeared to be based on a personal dispute.

The attacker was on a Jewish work and study program and was employed at the hotel until earlier this week.

The shooting took place at the Leonardo Club hotel.  The attacker reportedly snatched a gun from a security guard.

The beach resort was packed with tourists enjoying the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Police and army anti-terror units stormed the hotel.

"The shooter barricaded himself into the kitchen and was surrounded by police forces, including special units, who asked him to turn himself in," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

The man opened fire and anti-terror forces returned fire, killing the attacker, said a spokeswoman for the Israeli military.

The gunman was a 23-year-old Jewish man from New York. He was participating in a program that brings Jews to Israel for work and studies, said Ofer Gutman, head of the Oranim program, which is sponsored partially by the Israeli government.

"He was a normal guy," Gutman told The Associated Press. "There was nothing that indicated what would happen in the end." Gutman declined to give the attacker's name.

The man arrived in Israel about two months ago on the Oranim program, combining Hebrew study, travel and work in an Eilat hotel along with a university course on hotel management, Gutman said. On Tuesday, the hotel and the program decided, together with the man, to terminate his work at the hotel, and the Oranim staff was planning to reassign him to another workplace, Gutman said.

Gutman did not say why it was decided to end his work at the hotel, but said participants sometimes transfer to other workplaces based on their personal preferences.

Israeli media reported that the man the gunman killed was a hotel employee who had argued with him. Police could not immediately verify that account. Zaki Heller, a spokesman for Israel's rescue service, told Israel's Channel 2 TV the victim was a man in his 50s. Police said he was a hotel chef. His name was not released.

Israel Radio reported that the gunman ran into the lobby and fired a shot in the air, then ran through the dining room as hotel guests dived under tables.

Michal Bouaron, a guest at the hotel, told Channel 2 that police ordered guests to stay in their rooms during the incident. Later, police announced that it was safe for guests to leave their rooms.

"Everyone left here happy, clapping," Bouaron said. "There was a lot of tension."

She added, "Life goes on ... We won't let this ruin our day and our vacation."

The hotel is filled to capacity, Israeli media reported, because of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when many Israelis take vacations. Eilat, with attractive Red Sea beaches and hot, dry weather, is a favorite getaway spot for Israelis.

 

Copyright:  MyFoxNY.com/Associated Press

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