Shooting of Rabin was captured on video

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The Independent Online
An Israeli with a video camera filmed the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister, in great detail, Israeli television has disclosed.

"It is a shocking, painful, astounding and enraging film," said Rafi Reshef, a reporter with Israel's Channel 2 television who has seen the video.

"They tried to portray a sophisticated assassin, but it seems like any child could have approached Rabin and committed the murder.''

The 37-year-old man from Tel Aviv, who is keeping his name a secret as he negotiates the sale of his video, filmed for one hour and 20 minutes in the blocked-off street behind Tel Aviv's town hall, where Rabin was killed on 4 November. Until now it was believed that nobody had filmed the moment of the assassination.

The photographer has put the videotape up for sale at a price of up to pounds 330,000, his lawyers said yesterday.

Mr Reshef said: "Yigal Amir [the self-confessed assassin] is seen standing behind a plant. He is seen emerging from behind, approaching Rabin, standing very close to him and shooting. Three shots are heard and the flashes can be seen. Then one sees a pile of people on top of Rabin, after which he stopped filming, complying with the orders to lie on the ground."

The film is likely to reinforce the shock of Rabin's assassination, as did a film which was taken by Henry Zapruder in Dallas in 1963 of John Kennedy being shot. It also fortuitously focuses on Amir for two minutes as he waited for Rabin to try to reach his car. His trial starts tomorrow.

The video was given to the police the day after the assassination, enabling them to eliminate as suspects all but one of those standing near Rabin when he was shot at point-blank range as he entered his car.

Rabin's widow, Leah, told Channel 2 that she did not want to see the videotape and that the fateful moment would remain with her for ever. "I don't think I want to see the video ... because the picture itself as it was, I remember so well and it is so difficult for me."

Asked if other family members wanted to view it, she said: "Some of them want to see it. I think that the children want to be more prepared to cope with whether or not they guarded him well enough."

Mordechai Kirshenbaum, head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, told Israel Radio that state television was trying to buy the tape, although it could not bear the cost alone.

"What motivates us is mainly the film's archival value," he said. "It should be in the public archive that documents the history of the state of Israel," adding: "The commercialising of this is not at all pleasant."

The Tel Aviv District Court yesterday turned down a request by Mr Amir's attorneys to delay his trial by 60 days, the Justice Ministry said.

Mordechai Offri, a lawyer for Mr Amir, said the postponement was necessary to give him time to examine evidence against his client but the court said proceedings would start tomorrow as planned.