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Police Say Israeli Stabbed at Least 18 African-American MenTim King Salem-News.com
Serial Stabbing Suspect Nabbed Before Flying Home to Israel; the mental health counsellor is suspected in a string of stabbings of US citizens.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A suspect in the stabbing attacks of at least 20 mostly black men, in three states, has been arrested. 33-year Elias Abuelazam, an Israeli citizen, was taken into custody by airport officials in Georgia yesterday. At this point, he is being held on a separate charge, not yet positively identified by police as the serial stabbing suspect. Five people have been left dead in the stabbings. Authorities have no idea how many more victims there may actually be.
Abuelazam was nabbed by US Customs and Border Protection as he attempted to board a plane in Atlanta bound for Israel. The suspect was apparently based in Flint, Michigan. Flint is a central hub for Muslim Americans; including outspoken writers and activists.
States in the investigation at this point are: Michigan, Virginia and Ohio.
One Murder in March of 2009 involved the death of 44-year-old Jammie Lane, who was stabbed to death in his residence. It is an example of the cases that are not yet tied to the suspect, but could be. Regarding the stabbing of Jammie Lane, Leesburg, Virginia Police Chief Joseph Price said, "We are going to explore all possible connections; that case remains a very active case,"
The suspect's vehicle has been located. Leesburg Police Officer Chris Jones told reporters that the police, "have information that he was trying to leave the country."
Jones says over the past week, investigators from the Michigan Task Force, Leesburg Police Department, Toledo Police Dept, the FBI, and numerous other law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly investigating leads and tips from the public in regard to stabbing incidents that occurred in Flint, Michigan; Leesburg, Virginia; and Toledo, Ohio.
"Late yesterday afternoon, one of those tips developed into a strong investigative lead that identified an individual who has ties to both the Flint, Michigan and Leesburg, Virginia areas. Investigators from the Michigan Task Force, Leesburg Police and the FBI worked this lead through the night. A person of interest was taken into custody. He is currently being held on unrelated charges," Jones said.
He believes this is a key step in the investigation, but there are still many issues that need to be addressed before they identify this individual as the person responsible for this horrific crime spree.
Jones added, "All agencies and investigators continue to work closely to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion. As more information is solidified, additional information will be released. The involved agencies and jurisdictions want to thank the media and the public for their continued assistance and support in this investigation."
Sources confirm that Abuelazam is an Israeli citizen. There are conflicting reports as to whether he is in the United States legally. The suspect's work visa specified that he was at one point a mental health technician at Leesburg's Piedmont Behavioral Health Center.
A Michigan task force released this list of attacks between May 24 and Aug. 2.
Only two of the 20 men attacked are not black.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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