Arrest made after Israeli murdered in Berlin

Arrest made after Israeli murdered in Berlin
An Israeli flag hangs outside the ruined church where the man's body was found. Photo: DPA
An Albanian man was arrested on Friday in the Czech Republic on suspicion of beating to death an Israeli tourist in Berlin, German police said.

The victim, identified by police Thursday as 22-year-old Yosi Damari, was found by passers-by early Sunday beaten beyond recognition in the ruins of a Gothic church. No motive has been found for the murder, which had taken place the previous day, Berlin police say.

It took several days for police to confirm the identity of the battered man, using his passport and DNA testing.

After discovering contact between the Israeli and a 28-year-old Albanian man at a nearby hotel prior to the murder, a Europe-wide warrant was issued and the suspect was arrested by Czech special forces in Usti nad Labem, near the German border.

The Israeli man's body was found in the ruins of the 14th century Church of the Franciscan Monastery, which was destroyed during World War II. The site is near City Hall and Alexanderplatz, which has seen an increase in violent crime in recent years including two high-profile killings of young men.

An autopsy conducted on the body revealed that Damari was killed on Saturday, April 4, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

It emerged that Damari sought help at the Israeli embassy shortly before his death. On Friday he went to the embassy to seek help in relation to financial and technical problems, a spokesperson for the embassy said.

Damari had been invited to a dinner at the Jewish Community in celebration of Passover and had accepted the invitation. But he never turned up.

“At that point we lost contact with him,” said the spokesperson.

Long shunned as the city where the Holocaust was planned, Berlin has seen a mass influx of young Israelis in recent years attracted by its lower rent and food costs and famed nightlife.