TEL AVIV SHOOTING RAMPAGE – UPDATE
Shots fired into crowded pub, on Friday 01/01/2015 early afternoon, at 130 Dizengoff street in the center of Tel Aviv, killing 2 and wounding 4; security forces searching for the shooter, who fled the scene.
A CCTV clip aired by the Israeli Channel 10 shows the suspected shooter in a vegetables store next to the scene of the attack before going out and opening fire at the crowded bar next door. A second CCTV clip from inside the bar shows the moment the shooter started firing. The shooter left behind his backpack, where he stored the submachine gun used in the attack.
According to initial reports the shooter spoke Hebrew without any accent, he left behind in his backpack a copy of the Holy Quran and the submachine gun was a Karl Gustav 9 mm Czech type, probably from the Egyptian army’s weaponry left behind in the wars of 1967 or 1973 . The type is very common and in use by Sinai smugglers and Bedouins, by crime gangs on the two sides of the Israeli-Egyptian border in Sinai and in Israel and by terror organizations in Gaza Strip and the West Bank, The gun was found after two hours in a street garbage can.
* According to security sources later, at about 19:00 local time, the identity of the shooter, an Israeli Arab, is known to the Israeli security authorities. The shooter was identified by his father who watched the news in the TV channels as his son Nashat Melhem. 31.. He is from Arara, an Arab village in Vadi Ara. The suspect wore, probably, Google glasses and it is possible that the shooter tried to document his attack. The weapon used in the attack was reportedly stolen from the father’s safe at home.
The suspect has a history of violent behavior and drug abuse. Nashat Melhem was already sentenced, in 2007 for five-year jail term after attempting to seize a weapon from a soldier.
Lod resident and Israeli citizen Ayman Shaaban, a taxi driver and a father of 11. was found shot shortly after a gunman opened fire on a bar in the city’s center and his body was found in a sandy area in Northern Tel-Aviv. Police believes the murder is related to the attack hinting that the shooter had another gun, he fled with the taxi and had at least one accomplice. According to intelligence sources Nashat Melhem used Shaaban’s cell phone to connect members of his family .
Nashat Melhem’s brother Juadat Milhem was remanded into custody for five days by Haifa Magistrates Court on Saturday 01/02/2016. The court accepted a request from the state that he be barred from seeing a lawyer for three days. He is suspected of being an accomplice to murder, and of premeditated manslaughter. Juadat Milhem was released by court, on Tuesday 01/05/2016, without any restrictions .
Celebrating the attack a barrage of 4 Gaza fired rockets on Friday 01/01/2016 evening. No injuries were reported. The IDF later retaliated with airstrikes against Hamas targets.
* A second brother of Nashat Melhem was arrested on Sunday 01/03/2016 night . The Father of the shooter, Ahmad Melhem, was arrested on Tuesday 01/05/2016 morning along with other 4 suspects.
– Similar to the Paris attacks of 11/13/2015, the terror cell was build on family relations and criminal background.
.* Nashat Melhem was located, eventually, in his home village Arara, about 60 k”m North to Tel Aviv, in a compound used by his Hamula (the larger family ). Police said that he got support from his family members and was on his way to commit another attack in central Israel, more specific in Northern Tel-Aviv. The compound was surrounded, clandestinely, by special police forces, On Friday 01/08/2016 afternoon Nashat Melhem opened fire on police agents who tried to arrest him and was killed in the exchange of fire. The investigation is still going on to uncover his source of motivation and his accomplices.
Nashat Melhem’s father and two of his relatives from the Hamula are still in police detention It is most likely that Arab inhabitants in his village Arara provided some clues to the police, clues that led to his hideout. The father Ahmad Melhem and the second brother were released to home arrest on Sunday 01/10/2016.
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