Posted 8 months ago on Oct. 5, 2012, 1:12 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Israeli police kill American gunman in hotel shoot-out
Israeli police killed an American gunman who opened fire in a seaside hotel packed with tourists. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports.
By NBC News staff and wire reports
Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET: JERUSALEM -- Israeli forces on Friday killed an American man who had earlier shot dead one person in a seaside hotel packed with tourists, police said.
Police surrounded the Leonardo Club hotel in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat after the man "grabbed a weapon from a security guard and shot a hotel worker," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The hotel employee later died.
The gunman barricaded himself in the hotel kitchen, and fired at law enforcement officers. He was shot dead by members of a military counter-terrorism squad, a military source told Reuters.
Police later confirmed to NBC News that the American had been shot dead.
Authorities said the shooting did not appear to be related to terrorism or to be otherwise politically motivated.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio the incident "appears to be an internal dispute."
Report: Victim worked as chef
The gunman, who was not immediately named, was a 23-year-old from New York, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported. The newspaper named the shooting victim as Armando Abed, 33, an Israeli who was working as a chef at the hotel.
An Israeli hotel guest, Aviram Sela, said he tried to wrestle the gunman to the ground before he started shooting, as terrified tourists dived for cover behind a sofa in the hotel lobby.
Soldiers secure the area near the site of a shooting incident at a hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, Israel, on Friday.
"We saw him beating the guard and grab his weapon and the magazine," Sela told Israeli television, adding that the gunman then took aim at a member of his family.
Shooter 'a normal guy'
Haaretz, citing Israeli police sources, said the gunman was taking part in a program called “Oranim.”
The program is designed to bring Jews to Israel for employment and education, Oranim head Ofer Gutman said, according to Haaretz. "He was a normal guy," Gutman told The Associated Press. "There was nothing that indicated what would happen in the end."
Gutman told the AP that the man was working in the hotel and was also taking a university course on hotel management. His work at the hotel was terminated earlier this week, Gutman said, without elaborating.
Eilat, on the border with Egypt and Jordan, has been a target of militant attacks in the past, and has come under rocket fire from Egypt's Sinai in the past several months. The city is currently crowded with both foreign tourists and Israelis on a seven-day Jewish religious holiday.
NBC's Lawahez Jabari, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
American gunman killed in Israeli hotel shoot-out
Reuters – 24 mins ago
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An American man opened fire in an Israeli seaside hotel packed with tourists on Friday after losing his job there, killing one person before being shot dead in a stand-off with security forces.
The firefight erupted in the popular Red Sea resort of Eilat when New York native William Hershkovitz, 23, attacked a security guard at the Leonardo Club hotel and snatched his gun, officials and witnesses said.
He then shot dead one of the hotel chefs, whom police identified as 33-year-old Armando Abed.
Police and military counter-terrorism officers swiftly surrounded the hotel, and Hershkovitz barricaded himself in the kitchen. After failed negotiations, there was an exchange of fire and Hershkovitz was shot dead, Eilat police spokesman Lior Ben-Simon said.
An Israeli hotel guest, Aviram Sela, said he had tried to wrestle the gunman to the ground before he started shooting, while terrified tourists dived for cover behind a sofa in the hotel lobby.
"We saw him beat the guard and grab his weapon and the magazine," Sela told Israeli television, adding that the gunman then took aim at a member of Sela's family.
Hershkovitz had arrived in Israel in August as part of a five-month Israeli government-sponsored program meant to help foreigners become acquainted with the country, said Israel Way, the company that runs the trip.
He and about 80 other participants in the program were working in hotels throughout Eilat.
Hershkovitz on Thursday was told to leave the program after hotel staff had lodged complaints against him.
He "had met all admission requirements and his medical record was clean," Israel Way said in a statement. The internationally funded Jewish Agency, another of the program's sponsors, said it had appointed a panel to examine how Hershkovitz had been accepted.
(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Jane Baird)