Israel asks Palestinian Authority for help in finding Tel Aviv shooter
Jack Guez (AFP)
Israel has asked the Palestinian Authority for help in finding Nashaat Melhem, the Arab Israeli suspected of killing two people and wounding seven others at a Tel Aviv pub, the Walla news site reported Monday. Officials are examining the possibility that Melhem fled to the West Bank after the attack, although searches for the suspect were concentrated on the northern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv.
Despite finding his cell phone as well as repeatedly questioning his family, a senior security official said on Monday that they were no closer to finding him.
The official, who is closely involved in the developments around the hunt for the terrorist said that the security forces are no closer to a breakthrough.
"We still have no idea where he is, he could be anywhere in the country," he told Israel's Channel 2.
The official added that the discovery of the mobile device and the investigation of the family "has not helped us or led us to a breakthrough."
Israel Army Radio, meanwhile reported that another brother of Melhem was arrested on Monday and will be brought before a court in Haifa to extend his detention.
On Sunday, Melhem's sister was taken in for questioning by Israeli police as Israeli security forces pressed a manhunt for Melhem himself.
Police partially lifted a gag order on Saturday, naming the suspected shooter as Nashaat Melhem, 31, from the Arab village of Arara in northern Israel. They distributed his picture and encouraged public vigilance, as a massive manhunt continued. Melhem's family and lawyer described the suspect as "mentally deranged", noting that he had a history of mental illness and drug abuse including extensive use of cocaine and speed.
Melhem's cousin was killed by Israeli police in 2006, and was arrested and sentenced to five years in and Israeli prison after attempting to steal a soldier's weapon in order to avenge his cousin's death. Police raided the suspect's apartment on Saturday, where they seized a computer and arrested his brother for questioning.
The New Year's Day shooting came amid a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis and days after the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group threatened the Jewish state with violence.
The group has also criticized PM Netanyahu's remark regarding the Arab community representing an "enclave of lawlessness" within the Israeli "state of law", blaming the leader for establishing "a state of occupation" rife with racial tensions.
The girl and her father understood that the found phone may have security significance only after the shooter's name was published by media outlets.
The police have significantly boosted their deployment in Tel Aviv since Friday’s terror attack. There are officers on the ground “around the clock,” the spokeswoman adds, with some in uniform and some in plain clothes.
”The incident is the result of the fact that weapons can be bought from all kinds of places, like sunflower seeds in the grocery store."
By doing so would be “giving citizens a proper chance to defend themselves and not be slaughtered like sheep.”
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Hisham Alhoudalli, Jews leaving the Israel to Palestinian Arabs is the wet dream, it'll never happen. Palestinian Arabs do have the choice - to stop the violence and start the real negotiations with Israel, not these provocative "all or nothing". The only realistic results of your intifidas is the escalation of hate. Maybe you like it this way, who know, but the patience of Israelis is not unlimited: the situation may end very nasty way. Yes, all your professional "supporters" will make a lot of noise ... a couple of weeks and they would switch to other hot topic. Look on the situation with Syrian refugees....
Ok HISHAM ALHOUDALLI, where was this peace before there were any settlements? Palestinians could've had their own state - via negotiations - many times but instead walked away from the table each and every time. Your problem is that you hate Jews more than you want peace.
Zionists occupiers will be targeted by Palestinians as long as they pursue on the occupation. Peace can't be achieved with the existence of settlements and the criminal settlers who are all armed with guns , actually almost all the men in Israel are in the army or in the reserve so they are considered a legal targets. It is time that Jews have to think of leaving the occupied land of Palestine , Palestinians couldn't take their independence by negotiations so they have no choice except the struggle . Long Live Palestine