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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Wadi Ara’

Body of Tel Aviv Terrorist Returned to Family, Buried in Ar’ara

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

The Israeli Arab shooter who murdered three Israelis Jan. 1 in Tel Aviv was buried Wednesday in a small, quiet ceremony late Tuesday night, a short time after security authorities returned his body to the family.

The funeral, held in Wadi Ara village of Ar’ara where Nashet Melhem was raised, was limited to 80 people, primarily family members, in accordance with police directives.

Despite that, Hebrew-language media reported some of the women called out that Melhem had “died a shahid” (martyr) and was “a beloved one in God’s eyes.” The terms nowadays are used when referring to members of terrorist organizations, or lone wolf terrorists who die while carrying out attacks against others, which they call jihad, or “Islamic holy war.”

Until this past Friday, Israeli authorities and media were referring to Melhem as a “shooter.” But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specifically changed the reference to “terrorist” in his statements on the attacks by Saturday night, implying additional information had been uncovered in the investigation.

Mohammed Melhem, a volunteer police officer, was himself was arrested as a suspected accessory, mainly because Melhem stole his father’s weapon to carry out his attacks. He did not attend the funeral, though he probably could have, having been released from custody on Sunday; he was at home on house arrest at the time along with his son Ali, who paid a similar price for his brother’s crimes. The family attorney said in an earlier statement to media that Israeli security officials “understand” that neither of the two men were responsible for the attacks.

Nashet Melhem, 31, opened fire Jan. 1 with his father’s submachine gun at the Simta pub on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Two Israeli Jews – Alon Bakal, 26 and Shimon Raimi, 30 – were killed and eight others were wounded. Melhem then disappeared, hailing a cab to escape, and subsequently killing his driver as well: 42-year-old Israeli Bedouin Ayman Sha’aban.

In less than two hours he made it back to his home village and for the next eight days hunkered down, hiding from Israeli security. Despite the tracking efforts of hundreds of top personnel, Melhem evaded the law.

When he was finally found on Jan. 8 the terrorist first fled, racing through yards in an attempt to escape. He then turned and opened fire at the approaching security personnel who came to arrest him, and in self-defense they returned fire at the terrorist, who was shot and killed.

The question is, who aided Melhem in his escape from justice for so long? He clearly had plenty of help. Israeli authorities have poured their resources into finding out who participated in that effort, and how.

It is also revealing, and troubling, that in a legislative system designed to create and uphold a nation’s laws, that not one Israeli Arab Knesset member has denounced Melhem’s attacks. Not in Hebrew in any forum, nor in the Arabic language to their own constituencies.

Moreover, at least one veteran Israeli Arab Knesset member is actually calling on the government to “put on trial” those officers who shot and killed the terrorist, calling his death an “execution.” Balad MK Hanin Zoabi told an interviewer on the Musawa channel in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah in Samaria that “even though security forces could have arrested him, they were directed to execute him… the matter at hand is the reputation of the police state.”

That is a very grim message to the sole democracy in the Middle East. It’s a red flag that this country’s electorate should remember the next time Israelis go to the polls.

Hana Levi Julian

Father, Brother of Tel Aviv Shooter Released from Custody

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

Mohammed Melhem, the father of Tel Aviv shooter Nashet Melhem, has been freed from custody along with his son Ali.

The two men were released to house arrest on $1,270 bond in an agreement between the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet/Shabak) and attorney Nechami Feinblatt, a public defender who represents the family.

“I think the Shin Bet understands that the family wanted to help capture him and not help him,” the attorney said.

Both were held in custody along with six other relatives and friends last week while the killer was at large. They were arrested on charges of being accessories to murder, illegal association and conspiracy to commit a crime and premeditated manslaughter.

Melhem murdered three people in Tel Aviv on Jan. 1 using a weapon he stole from his father, a volunteer police officer. It was the elder Melhem who identified his son to police as the killer after seeing a video of the murders on television.

When he still was not captured within three days, the elder Melhem was taken into custody along with other relatives and friends. It later turned out that numerous family members did indeed know Nashet was back in the village; but they were reluctant to turn in one of their own. The subsequent pressure by Shin Bet operatives, leveraged via arrests and questioning, plus the gathering of DNA and other hard evidence, proved essential in ending the saga.

Nashet Melhem will be buried in his home village of Ar’ara in Wadi Ara in a small private ceremony on Sunday afternoon. The family is doing whatever it can to put this behind them, a relative said.

Hana Levi Julian

Feces, DNA Revealed Whereabouts of Tel Aviv Shooter

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

It was the bodily needs of the Tel Aviv shooter, an Israeli Arab, that proved to be his undoing. In Judaism, there is a blessing for the correct function of those things.

Israel Police and all the linked and jointly operating security forces received unstinting praise Saturday night from Israel’s two top leaders for finding the Tel Aviv shooter. Their work was particularly unpleasant.

Security officials used DNA testing and feces found in an abandoned building in Nashet Melhem’s village to track down the killer.

Melhem had fled north toward his home village of Ar’ara immediately after murdering three people in Tel Aviv on January 1 — something suspected by security officials at the time, but that could not be confirmed.

In actuality, he made it back within hours, officials told reporters after he was killed in a shootout at the village on Friday.

First he hid out in the fields. Then he found shelter in an abandoned building – that’s where Israeli security personnel found the first traces of his presence.

By the following Monday they had tracked him down to that building, located in a field within the village boundaries. But they had missed him; he was gone.

How did they know he was there? Human feces was found at the site. They took a sample and tested it; the sample matched Melhem’s DNA, according to Channel 10 television news. Ditto a spent cigarette butt, which also matched his DNA.

Both discoveries allowed Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich to calm the public in Tel Aviv by Tuesday, telling them it was much less likely Melhem was still in the area.

The killer was ultimately tracked to the home of a 76-year-old female relative who is hospitalized on a respirator. She has no idea that her home was used as a murderer’s hideout. The outside wall bears the name “Melhem” painted in blue Hebrew letters, a relative – Ahmed Melhem – told Channel 2 television news on Saturday night.

When Melhem saw the security forces coming to get him on Friday, he opened fire at them from the window of that relative’s home. He then tried to escape.

Security personnel had orders to try and take Melhem alive – if possible.

About 200 meters away, he jumped over a low wall into the yard of a neighbor, according to security officials. He turned and fired at security personnel chasing him – including an officer with a police dog (who was not injured).

That’s when Melhem was shot and killed by police who returned fire.

In response to questions from the television channel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan emphasized that accomplices are still being tracked down. “We will arrest everyone who had a role in this,” Erdan affirmed.

One suspect told a judge at a hearing that a friend had reported seeing Melhem in the village, but he had not credited the report.

Ahmed Melhem, however, had a different view of the matter: “Maybe people didn’t want to get into a fight with him. The whole country knew how dangerous he was.”

On Saturday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement “on behalf of all the citizens of Israel” saying he wanted to thank “Israel Police, ISA, and the police special anti-terrorism unit” for their skill.

“They did their work professionally, methodically, day and night; they focused on the mission and they achieved it. All those who would murder Israelis should know that sooner or later we will find them, inside and outside the borders of the State of Israel. No one is immune. We will find the murderers and their accomplices,” Netanyahu warned.

Hana Levi Julian

Tel Aviv Terrorist Found and Eliminated One Week After Attack

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

A large contingency of Israel’s security forces was looking for Nashat Melhem both in the scene of his attack, in north Tel Aviv, and in his home region, the “Arab Triangle” that stretches in north-central Israel, along Wadi Ara, a valley connecting the cities of Hadera and Afula. Melhem, who murdered three people in Tel Aviv, including an Arab taxi driver, was located in his home town of Arara just after the start of Shabbat. A firefight ensued, with the terrorist using the same weapon—his father’s—which used in the initial attack. eventually, Melehem was put down.

The Shabak released a statement saying, “The wanted man Nashat recognized the Shabak and SWAT forces coming near the structure where he had been hiding, and tried to escape. Later he opened fire on our forces with the Falcon sub-machine gun that was in his possession—and with which he carried out the murders in Tel Aviv. The force fired back and killed him. There were no injuries to our side.

According to reports, since Friday morning large forces stormed a mosque in Wadi Ara, where the weekly sermon was about to be carried. According to reports, the Shabak received intelligence that the terrorist was hiding inside the mosque and that the sermon was only a cover for his presence there. Police arrested several suspects Friday morning and, following an interrogation, they gave up Melhem’s hiding place.

Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh announced after the terrorist’s elimination that “the goal is not yet complete. Police and the Shabak will continue, with determination and systematically, to expose everyone involved and to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated police, the Shabak and SWAT “who worked tirelessly, systematically and professionally until they located and neutralized the terrorist.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Police: Tel Aviv Shooter Disabled Cab Camera After Pub Attack

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Police believe Tel Aviv shooter Nashet Melham disabled the camera inside the cab he hailed after his attack on a Dizengoff pub last Friday, according to a report Thursday by Channel 10 television news.

Melham, an Israeli Arab, apparently shot and killed Ayman Sha’aban when the driver, an Israeli Bedouin, refused to cooperate with his passenger’s orders to avoid a police checkpoint.

Investigators who found the abandoned taxi and Sha’aban’s body near the Glilot interchange also discovered the camera. They said the trip with Melham was not recorded: a clear sign the camera had been tampered with, probably before he murdered the driver.

Up to this point police have been circumspect in the information they release to the public about the investigation.

However, the demands of Sha’aban’s family to release footage of his murder seem to have resulted in their willingness to share the events in the cab.

Nearly all of Melhem’s family members, with the exception of his mother, have been arrested as accessories to the attack in which he killed two and wounded eight at the Simta pub. Melhem’s parents live in Ar’ara, in the northern Israeli area of Wadi Ara.

Included among those arrested is Melhem’s father Muhammed, a volunteer police officer. The elder Melhem identified his son as the perpetrator when he saw a video of the attack on television over the weekend, and who publicly pleaded with his son to turn himself in.

It was his father’s service weapon that Nashet Melhem stole and used to carry out his murderous attacks.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Police Hunt for Tel Aviv Shooter in Northern Israel

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

The manhunt for the Tel Aviv shooter has expanded into northern Israel after five days of fruitless searching for the killer in the city and its surrounds.

Israel Police Commissioner Inspector-General Roni Alsheich has ordered the deployment of officers to Arab towns along the northern 1949 Armistice Line, also known as the “1967 line” or Green Line.

Police began searching for Tel Aviv shooter Nashet Melhem in the area early Wednesday after concluding he has managed to escape from the city. Melhem and his parents live in the northern Israeli Arab town of Ar’ara, in Wadi Ara.

Melhem killed two people and wounded eight others last Friday in an attack on a Dizengoff Street pub, “Simta.” He is also believed to have murdered Bedouin cab driver Ayman Sha’aban of Lod. Melhem allegedly hailed the cab right after the murders and rode with Sha’aban to an open area near the Glilot interchange, then allegedly killed him and escaped.

Although his father, volunteer police officer Muhammed Melhem identified his son last week after seeing video footage of the attack and pleaded before media for him to turn himself in, he was arrested Tuesday as a possible accessory. Two of the shooter’s brothers had already been arrested on Saturday.

In addition, the shooter’s brothers and a number of other relatives and friends have been arrested as well. All have been charged as possible accomplices in his escape.

His mother was also taken into custody Tuesday for questioning but she was not charged.

A large contingent of police and other security personnel are now involved in hunting for Melhem in northern Israel.

A Muslim Arab from eastern Jerusalem is also involved in the efforts to capture Melhem.

Mazen Qaq, chairman of the Committee of Jerusalem’s Old City Merchants, has offered a substantial cash reward for viable information leading to Melhem’s capture.

“We need to stop with the ‘Arab against Israeli’ narrative,” he said. “We are all cousins who wish to live in peace.”

 

Hana Levi Julian

Police Arrest Father & Family of Tel Aviv Pub Shooter

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

The father of the gunman who attacked a pub on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street last Friday has been arrested, along with five members of the family, after two of the shooter’s brothers were taken into custody on Saturday.

Muhammad Milhem was the one who identified his son, Nashet Milhem, 31, as the shooter when he saw video footage of the attack on a broadcast last weekend. The elder Milhem is a security guard and auxiliary police officer; it was his weapon the gunman stole and used in the attack.

The younger Milhem shot and killed two people and wounded eight others last Friday, and traumatized many others. Last Saturday police searched the Milhem family home in the northern Israeli Arab town of Ar’ara in Wadi Ara.

Two of the shooter’s brothers were arrested as suspected accessories in the attack. One was taken to a judge at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court the same evening, where his remand was extended by five days.

Tuesday morning, Milhem’s father and five other family members were taken into custody and arrested as well.

“This is police impotency,” family attorney Nachmi Feinblatt was quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 television news as saying. “In the end, they arrested the entire family.”

Nashet Milhem is still at large; he is armed with the submachine gun he used in the attack, and the public is being warned that he is considered dangerous.

Security personnel are focusing most of their search on the northern Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv. That is where Milhem worked for nearly a decade in a vegetable store, and where he was last reported being seen by residents.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-arrest-father-family-of-tel-aviv-cafe-shooter/2016/01/05/

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