January 2016 Tel Aviv shooting

On 1 January 2016, an Israeli Arab gunman opened fire on several businesses on Dizengoff Street, in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing two people and injuring seven others.[2] He also killed a taxi driver while fleeing. The attack was believed to be inspired by ISIS.[3] The event took place in parallel with the 2015-16 Palestinian unrest.

January 2016 Tel Aviv shooting
Part of ISIL terrorism
The attack site is located in Tel Aviv
The attack site
The attack site
The attack site is located in Central Israel
The attack site
The attack site
LocationDizengoff 130, Tel Aviv, Israel 32°04′54″N 34°46′26″E / 32.081639°N 34.773799°E / 32.081639; 34.773799
Date1 January 2016
c. 14:40 (UTC+2:00)
Attack type
Mass shooting[1]
WeaponsSpectre M4
Deaths3
Injured7
PerpetratorNasha'at Melhem

AttackEdit

The gunman, reported to be a young man wearing sunglasses and dressed in black, exited a grocery store and pulled what appeared to be a submachine gun[4] out of his bag and opened fire on a sushi restaurant, a cafe, and a bar called "Ha'Simta" ("The Alley"), with the bar appearing to be the main target.[4]

Shortly after, the suspect took a taxi at Ibn Gabirol Street near Rabin Square, some 750 meters east of the attack site. He later shot the driver, identified as Arab-Israeli Amin Shaaban, who was found dead near north Tel Aviv's Mandarin Hotel.[5][6]

The two murdered victims at the site of the shooting were identified as Alon Bakal, the manager of the Simta, and 30-year-old Shimon Ruimi of Ofakim.[7]

The perpetrator's cell phone was found shortly before the attack in an alley in Ramat Aviv, a few miles north of the shooting scene. The girl who found the cell phone did not initially realize that it belonged to the perpetrator, and once she did so a day later, she and her father contacted the police.[8] Selfie videos from his cell phone were later made public by the Shin Bet. The videos led officials to believe that the attack was inspired by ISIS.[3]

SuspectEdit

Police identified the suspect as a 31-year-old named Nashat Melhem,[9] from Ar'ara, an Arab town in the Wadi Ara area of northern Israel. He was identified after his father, who works in security, recognized his son from the security footage and noticed that his gun, reportedly a Spectre M4, was missing.[7]

Melhem had previously been arrested in 2007 for attempting to steal an Israeli soldier's gun. He attacked the soldier with a screwdriver, and said he wanted to avenge his cousin's death, and also said he wanted to sell the gun. Relatives and acquaintances claimed that he had mental health issues and often engaged in "problematic" behavior.[10][11] Relatives stated he was not religious or affiliated with any political movement.[10]

InvestigationEdit

Immediately following the incident, Israeli forces began a massive manhunt throughout the Tel Aviv area for Melhem.[12] Benjamin Netanyahu following the incident announced that forces have been increased within relevant areas.[13] With the location of Melhem unknown, Israel requested the Palestinian Government's help in searching the West Bank for possible information on his whereabouts,[14] to which they later agreed to turn in Melhem if he was in the West Bank.[15] His family stated that if he returned home they would immediately alert the authorities.[16] After several days, Israeli Police expanded their search to northern Arab towns.[17]

In the days following the shooting, Melhem's father, Mohammed, along with five other family members and friends, were arrested on charges of premeditated manslaughter, being an accessory to murder, illegal association and conspiracy to commit a crime.[18] The next day, Melhem's brother, Jaudat, was released from prison, but ordered not to return home. The Police requested the court to allow Mohammed Melhem to be kept in police custody for up to 12 days.[19] Melhem's mother stated that police threatened to demolish their home for not releasing their son's whereabouts.[20]

On 8 January 2016, an IDF search dog picked up the scent of Melhem's feces.[21] Melhem was then killed by Yamam counter-terrorism operators in a mosque in Ar'ara,[22] following a shootout with the police.[23] Melhem's body was buried in Arara's cemetery on 12 January, with some of the 80 participants, some of which hailed him as a martyr.[24]

Following Melhem being located four additional people were arrested on suspicion of aiding Melhem while in hiding.[25] On 27 January, three of Melhem's relatives: Amin and Mohammed Melhem, and Ayoub Rashid, were indicted for abetting Nashat Melhem elude police. In the indictment, Mohammed Melhem was charged with providing Nasha'at Melhem with a new cell phone and Amin Melhem was charged with helping Nasha'at Melhem plan a second attack in Israel.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "testimony: ":The terrorist told me, 'someone shot there'" (Hebrew)". Ynet. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Tel Aviv shooting: Two dead, Israeli police say". bbc.com. BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Cohen, Gili; Shpigel, Noa (Jan 27, 2016). "Shin Bet: Tel Aviv Gunman Planned Another Attack". Haaretz.
  4. ^ a b Hadid, Diaa (January 2016). "Tel Aviv Shooting Leaves 2 Dead and 7 Wounded". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  5. ^ Yaakov, Kubovich (4 January 2015). "Police Say Tel Aviv Shooter Likely Killed Third Victim While Fleeing". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  6. ^ Police confirms Nashat Milhem killed taxi driver
  7. ^ a b Efrati, Ido. "Two Killed, Seven Wounded in Shooting at Tel Aviv Pub". Haaretz. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Telephone of Tel Aviv shooter found in north of city". Ynet. 3 January 2016.
  9. ^ Tel Aviv shooting: Nasha'at Melhem named as suspect by Israeli police in ongoing manhunt
  10. ^ a b "Suspect in Deadly Tel Aviv Shooting Has Violent Past". Haaretz.
  11. ^ Sanchez, Raf (4 January 2016). "Fear and frustration in Israel as Tel Aviv gunman remains on the run". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  12. ^ Israeli security forces scour Tel Aviv for shooting suspect
  13. ^ Israeli Arab named as suspect in Tel Aviv bar shooting
  14. ^ Israel seeks PA’s help in hunt for suspect in Tel Aviv shooting
  15. ^ PA agrees to cooperate in manhunt for Tel Aviv shooting suspect, says official
  16. ^ Some Israelis are comparing the Tel Aviv shooting to the attacks in Paris
  17. ^ Police expand manhunt for Tel Aviv killer to northern Arab towns
  18. ^ Israel Police Arrest Father of Tel Aviv Shooting Suspect
  19. ^ Brother of suspected TA shooter released
  20. ^ Mother of TA fugitive says authorities threatened to demolish home
  21. ^ Fugitive gunman killed IDF search dog which sniffed out hiding place
  22. ^ "Police Locate, Kill Suspected Tel Aviv Gunman in Northern Israel". Haaretz. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  23. ^ Tel Aviv gunman killed in exchange of fire in Wadi Ara
  24. ^ Shaalan, Hassan (13 January 2016). "Tel Aviv terrorist gets late night burial in Arara". Ynet.
  25. ^ 4 arrested on suspicion of aiding Tel Aviv gunman