Dead Israeli was Berlin tourist seeking help home: embassy

9th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

An Israeli man who was killed in Berlin at the weekend was a tourist who sought help because he was short of funds for a flight, the embassy said Thursday.

The man, identified by police Thursday as 22-year-old Yosi Damari, was found by passersby early Sunday beaten beyond recognition in the ruins of a Gothic church.

"The dead man had visited the Israeli embassy on Good Friday (April 3) and we helped him with a few matters," an embassy spokeswoman said.

She said he asked for his family in Israel to be contacted so they could help him buy a plane ticket.

"We have no information about a motive. Our consul general is in close contact with the Berlin police and our staff is also in contact with his relatives in Israel," she added in an email.

Police have opened a murder investigation into the case in which the victim 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.

Police said that Damari is believed to have "incurred massive injuries that led to his death" between 5 and 9 pm on Saturday and was in the capital as a tourist "at least since Friday".

"The place the body was found is also the scene of the crime," it added, renewing a call for witnesses to come forward.

Police determined his identity based on a passport found with the body and subsequent DNA testing.

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 rents and food costs and famed nightlife.

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© 2015 AFP

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