Scram­ble to find man who brought hor­ror back to Tel Aviv

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

SEVEN DAYS IN to the man­hunt for Nashat Mel­hem, the man ac­cused of car­ry­ing out the shoot­ing at a Tel Aviv bar last Fri­day af­ter­noon, and there is still no clear sign of his where­abouts.

The at­tack out­side Ha-Simta bar on Tel Aviv’s Dizen­goff Street left two dead: Alon Bakal, a man­ager of the bar, and Shi­mon Ruimi, who was at­tend­ing a party there. Eight oth­ers were wounded.

The main de­vel­op­ment in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion so far has been the ar­rest of Mel­hem’s fa­ther, who ini­tially told the po­lice that the man seen on CCTV cam­eras preparing the at­tack was his 29-year-old son.

Mr Mel­hem claimed that his son had stolen his a sub-ma­chine gun that he had held un­der a li­cense. He is now sus­pected, along with five other friends and rel­a­tives, of as­sist­ing the mur­derer.

Mo­hammed Mel­hem’s at­tor­ney claimed that the po­lice and Shin Bet se­cu­rity ser­vice have no clear ev­i­dence against his client, who pub­licly called for his son to turn him­self in.

Po­lice said that de­spite the fa­ther’s claim to have no idea where his son may be hid­ing, he had been in phone con­tact with him since the shoot­ing.

Mel­hem ju­nior served prison time in the past for at­tempt­ing to snatch a ri­fle from a sol­dier and had been re­garded as “dis­turbed” but not a mem­ber of a terror or­gan­i­sa­tion. In re­cent years he worked as a de­liv­ery­man in the north Tel Aviv neigh­bour­hood of Ra­mat Aviv, and was not on the se­cu­rity ser­vices radar as a po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist.

An Is­raeli cit­i­zen from the Ara Val­ley in the north, he is one of only a small hand­ful of Arab-Is­raelis to have car­ried out a terror at­tack in re­cent months; nearly all the per­pe­tra­tors have been res­i­dents of East Jerusalem or the West Bank.

In Mel­hem’s ab­sence and with the po­lice ob­serv­ing new rules of non-dis­clo­sure to the me­dia (as part of the new com­mis­sioner Ronny Al­sheikh’s pol­icy), a num­ber of ques­tions re­main unan­swered. Was Mel­hem in con­tact with any Pales­tinian or­gan­i­sa­tions or was he rad­i­calised on­line by Daesh? Why was Mo­hammed Mel­hem al­lowed to own weapons? Po­lice also link Nashat to the mur­der of an Is­raeli-Arab taxi driver, an hour af­ter the Ha-Simta shoot­ing.

The shoot­ing has ex­ac­er­bated al­ready tense re­la­tions be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Is­rael’s Arab mi­nor­ity. Speak­ing at the scene, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu spoke out against law­less­ness in the Arab sec­tor.

PHOTO: IS­RAEL PO­LICE

Al­leged killer Mel­hem

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