An intense search for the perpetrator is ongoing since the Friday afternoon shooting of civilians at a bar on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Two victims are dead, and seven others seriously wounded.
Nashat Milhem, a 29-year-old Arab Israeli resident of the northern village of Arara, is still on the loose after shooting civilians at the popular Simta Bar in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, leaving two dead and seven injured, some critically.
The murdered victims are Alon Bakal, 26, manager of the pub who had just completed his fourth year of law school, and Shimon Ruimi, 30, a resident of the southern town of Ofakim who was celebrating a birthday with four childhood friends.
Police and security are on a manhunt for the killer, who they fear is likely to repeat the act and could decide to take hostages. Schools in Tel Aviv will remain open on Sunday – a regular business day in Israel – although many parents are deliberating whether or not to send their children. Extra security will be added.
Authorities arrested the shooter’s brother, Jodat Melman, who allegedly assisted in the murder.
Their father, a police volunteer, appeared shaky and distraught as he addressed a press conference Saturday in front of his home. “I was born in Israel,” he said. “I am a law abiding citizen… I did not educate him in such a way, and I am deeply sorry by what he has done.” He recognized his son when he saw footage of the attack on TV and went immediately to police, saying that he felt “personally responsible” and wishing the injured victims a full recovery.
The killer has a criminal record, having received a five-year jail sentence in 2007 for attempting to seize a weapon from a soldier. He was also arrested in 2005 on drug-related charges.
Authorities have not confirmed the motive of the shooting, although police suspect it was a terror attack. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai acknowledged on Friday that “it looks like nationalist [anti-Israel], but it still isn’t clear.”
“The Israel Police and ISA are working around the clock to apprehend the murderer. I just received a comprehensive briefing on their operations. They, the security forces of the State of Israel, are working to the best of their abilities,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated at the scene of the crime Saturday evening.
“We all know that there is wild radical Islamic incitement against the State of Israel in the Arab sector. There is incitement in mosques, in the educational system and in social media. We are taking strong action against this incitement,” he stated.
By: Terri Nir, United with Israel
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