Nashat Milhem, identified by his father as the gunman who fatally shot three Israelis in Tel Aviv last week, was killed after opening fire on Israeli police, The Times of Israel reported on Friday.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, authorities recently found an unidentified item that belonged to Milhem and used it to track him to his hometown, the Arab village of Arara in northern Israel. Milhem, who was located in a hiding place, tried to escape and began shooting security forces with the same sub-machine gun he used during last week’s attacks. The forces returned fire, killing him.
Last Friday, Milhem opened fire on a Tel Aviv bar, killing 26-year-old shift manager Alon Bakal, 30-year-old patron Shimon Ruimi, and injuring seven others. He murdered Ayman Shaaban, a Bedouin cab driver from Lod, later that day while fleeing from authorities.
According to the Times, officials are investigating Milhem’s family and friends to determine whether they assisted him either before or after the shootings. Milhem’s father Muhammad, who serves as a volunteer police officer, informed local authorities that the gunman was his son after he saw footage of the January 1 attack on television. On Saturday, the village council of Arara, where the Milhem family lives, issued a condemnation of the shootings. “The council makes clear that this is the action of one man and is not representative of the village, and stresses that the incident is alien to our culture and the culture of the village,” it said in a statement. “The council and village residents send our condolences to the families of those killed, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”
Haaretz reported that, following the gun battle, several youths from Arara marched on the streets, shouting, “With blood, with fire, we’ll avenge the martyr.”
Initially, Milhem was believed to be hiding around Tel Aviv, putting the city’s residents on high alert and leading many parents to keep their children home from school. Israeli police commissioner Roni Alsheich indicated on Tuesday that Milhem was no longer in the area, but didn’t provide more details on account of the ongoing investigation.
Security officials stated that while they wanted to capture Milhem alive, they “had no choice” but to shoot back once he opened fire on their forces. Authorities also told Channel 2 that they had “no doubt” that Milhem acted out of nationalistic motives. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in an interview earlier on Friday that he believed that Milhem may have been influenced by ISIS.
[Photo: World News Times / YouTube ]