Israeli police say a man dressed as Santa Claus fatally stabbed Gabriel Cadis, the head of Jaffa's Orthodox Church Association, in the back during a procession to mark Orthodox Christmas in the city of Jaffa.
The Associated Press reports that Cadis was stabbed Friday night and died hours later at a hospital. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said six members of an Arab Christian family were in custody Saturday as police investigate. Witnesses at the scene told police that the attacker was wearing the red-and-white Santa suit.
Israeli media reported that Cadis had a long-standing dispute with other Arab Christians in Jaffa. Haaretz reports that police are investigating whether the stabbing was connected to elections within the church association.
A funeral procession was held for Cadis in Jaffa on Saturday afternoon where The Jerusalem Post reports more than a thousand mourners joined on Yefet Street, including leaders from Christian and Muslim communities. According to The Post the procession was led by a large contingent of scouts who periodically stopped to play taps, ahead of a minivan carrying Cadis in an open-face casket.
Jaffa residents speaking with Haaretz described Cadis' death as "an earthquake".
Jewish News One on the shocking crime: