The lifeless body of a 22-year-old Israeli was found adjacent to an abandoned church in Berlin on Tuesday bearing the signs of serious violence, according to the local German daily Bild.
Among the objects found around the body was an Israeli passport, leading to suspicions that he may have been targeted as an Israeli and murdered.
According to local reports, there is a suspicion that he was murdered in time for the Christian holiday of Easter, as the body was found by passersby early on Sunday morning at the Franciscan church near Alexanderplatz Square.
Reportedly the abandoned church is a frequent haunt of Berlin’s homeless.
The Israeli embassy in Berlin has been updated regarding the incident, and has yet to make an official statement.
A Berlin police spokesperson on Monday confirmed that at the scene sweatpants and an Israeli passport were found, stating “it isn’t clear if they belonged to the murdered person.”
“Due to the serious wounds on his face, it was difficult to identify him with the picture in the passport,” added the spokesperson. The police representative asked for witnesses to come forward to aid the investigation.
Rabbi Shmuel Segal of the Chabad center in Berlin told Walla! that he knows the Israeli youth, relating that “he was with us for a long time.”
“We have a Chabad center right next to the place where he was found. Those who know Berlin know that in the area of Alexanderplatz there are lots of strange people,” said the rabbi. “I think that’s currently the line of the police, they don’t have too much information.”
Rabbi Segal said it wasn’t clear if the youth was a tourist or a resident of Berlin.
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtel added that the youth arrived at the Berlin Chabad on Passover eve, noting, “he said he didn’t have anywhere to be.”
“We brought him food, we arranged him a place to sleep,” recalled the rabbi. “That same evening he said ‘great,’ and then left and didn’t return. He wasn’t at the (Passover) meal, and didn’t come to sleep.”