Foreign Ministry: Israeli Killed in Kazakhstan Riots

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view shows a bus, which was burnt during mass protests triggered by fuel price increase, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Jan. 8. (REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev)

A 22-year-old Israeli man named Levan Kogeashvili was killed in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday during a violent protest, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced.

Kogeashvili was struck by gunfire near his home while driving to work, Rostislav Edelstein, a friend of Kogeashvili’s family, told Walla News. He said Kogeashvili was taken to a hospital but attempts to revive him failed. Two Kazakhstanis in the vehicle were lightly injured. Edelstein said that Kogeashvili was not involved in the civil unrest that has gripped the central Asian state for several days.

Kogeashvili’s family immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, where he was born, according to Walla. He was raised in Ashdod but completed his studies in Kazakhstan. Edelstein told Walla that over a year ago Kogeashvili had married a Jewish Kazakhstani woman, and the couple has a young son around half a year old.

The Foreign Ministry is in contact with his parents in Kazakhstan and family in Israel and is assisting in the transfer of his body to Israel for burial, the ministry said. The Foreign Ministry expressed that it is mourning Kogeashvili’s loss, and requested that Israelis heed its previous statements advising against non-essential visits. The Foreign Ministry is not yet recommending that Israelis leave the country.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement from its consular affairs division that “Israeli citizens considering coming to the country are advised to exercise extra caution and avoid non-essential visits to the country. Further, Israeli citizens residing in the country are advised to refrain from attending mass gatherings, restrict movements and travel, including moving from work from home if possible, and follow government guidelines.”