Police and security forces on Saturday expressed concern that the terrorist Nashat Milhem, 28, from Wadi Ara, who carried out the attack in Tel Aviv Friday afternoon, will try to take hostages to facilitate his escape. This concern is driving the SWAT forces to higher alert and causes increased tension. The police are continuing their extensive searches in north Tel Aviv, especially the neighborhoods near the beach where the body of a taxi driver was found.
Police believe the terrorist is still armed and it is estimated that he will not hesitate to open fire in order to escape. According to testimonies of three workers at a pub near the crime scene, when they chased the shooter to Masaryk Street, nearby, at some point he turned and shot at them several times. Police are concerned that during his escape, the terrorist entered an apartment building where he is hiding, and has possibly captured hostages, or will take hostages in the future to help him escape.
On Saturday night, spokeswoman for Tel Aviv District Police Chief Superintendent Hila Hemo described the event as “an extreme, complex and extraordinary attack, in which an unknown, armed individual embarked on an indiscriminate massacre in a crowded street.” She said that “immediately upon receiving the initial report police burst into a supreme effort, with particular emphasis on large scale intelligence and investigative moves, alongside reinforcing forces in the area. Special units, which specialize in identifying and neutralizing hazards were sent over, with the main target being to locate and neutralize the terrorist.”
Earlier in the day, the attacker’s father told the media, “I am a law-abiding Israeli citizen. I did not raise my son this way, I am sorry.” He added: “I went to the police and helped the security services. I share in the families’ sorrow and wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
A close acquaintance of the attacker said he feared “he would hurt other innocents.” According to the shooter’s relatives, “he destroyed the victims’ families and also destroyed his own family. He has stained our village and all of Wadi Ara.”