UPDATE: News is emerging that Nashat Milhem, the gunman who killed three Israelis last week in Tel Aviv, was shot and killed by Israeli forces in a mosque in northern Israel on Friday afternoon.
To read more about the details as they unfold, click here.
(CBN) Four days after a shocking terror attack in Tel Aviv, police are still searching for the perpetrator, believed to be an Israeli Arab.
The assailant opened fire with a submachine gun on Israelis celebrating a birthday at a Tel Aviv restaurant on Friday afternoon. Two people were killed — pub owner Alon Bakal, 26, and 30-year-old Shimon Ruime — and eight others were wounded before escaping.
Family members recognized Nashat Milhem as the perpetrator from closed circuit footage that aired in news reports. In it, he is seen shopping just before the attack. He lays down his backpack on some shopping carts, pulls out his gun, and starts to shoot.
In an unusual move, Milhem’s family reported his identity to police. Members of the Israeli Arab community expressed their sorrow over the attack and Milhem’s father extended his condolences to the families of the victims.
Milhem is from the northern Israeli Arab city of Arara. He’s spent time in Israeli prison in the past. His family said he had been “traumatized” when a cousin was killed by police about 10 years ago. The family’s lawyer, Sami Milhem, said he’s mentally troubled and not influenced by Islamic State.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the site of the attack, which he called a “despicable murder.”
“Among Muslim citizens of Israel there are many who speak out against violence and aspire to full law enforcement in their communities,” Netanyahu said at the site.
“Everyone knows there is wild incitement by Islamic extremists against Israel in the Arab sector — incitement in mosques, incitement in the education system, and incitement on social media. We are acting aggressively against that incitement,” Netanyahu added.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv is on high alert as security forces continue to hunt for the terrorist. Parents reluctantly sent their children to school in Tel Aviv after the weekend, but Tel-Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa) Deputy Mayor Assaf Zamir said Israelis would rebound.
“We have increased the number of police officers and municipality security officials around the city but mostly in educational establishments,” Zamir said.
“We have known larger events than this, more devastating, and we have always bounced back because that is how we are in Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa) and in Israel,” he added.