Israeli police say a man dressed as Santa Claus fatally stabbed an Arab Christian man in the back during a procession to mark Orthodox Christmas in the city of Jaffa.

Gabriel Cadis, the head of Jaffa's Orthodox Church Association, 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 told police the attacker was wearing a red-and-white Santa suit.

Israeli media reported that Cadis had a long-standing dispute with other Arab Christians in Jaffa.