Police Commissioner Roni Alshich told reporters on Tuesday that his department will do whatever it takes to catch Nashat Melhem, the Arab shooter who killed two and wounded seven at a pub on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv last Friday.
Suggesting that the million plus residents of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area can reduce significantly their level of tension, the commissioner, who had just visited the family of one of the victims, Alon Bakal, told the press the police are focused on one mission only — putting its hand on the murderer. According to Alshich, any rule that stands in the way of reaching this goal will be disregarded.
This was the most adamant statement from a senior security forces official regarding the suspension of the law in pursuit of terrorists. He also announced that police policy has changed regarding informing the media about ongoing terror investigations, implying that the damage in some crucial item about the work methods of security forces getting leaked to the enemy as a result outweighs the public’s right to know.
One of the methods police have applied in the Dizengoff shooter’s case has been arrests of the suspect’s close circle of relatives, merely for the fact that they are his relatives. Mohammed Melhem, the suspect’s father whose weapon was used in the shooting, was arrested for questioning a second time. But his attorney, Nahmi Feinblatt, has been telling the media that police and the Shabak have given up on apprehending the suspect through a proper investigation, and are resorting to applying pressure on his family in the hope that something will give.
The suspect’s father identified him to police soon after the shooting had taken place, and has now called on his son to give himself up.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Knesset Channel on Monday that Nashat Melhem is a sophisticated killer. Some in Israel’s media suspect that Ayman Shaaban, the Arab taxi driver whose body was found at about the time of the Friday shooting, was used by Melhem, who then killed him, dragged the body away from the scene of the crime and stole the driver’s Israeli ID card, allowing him to evade his hunters.