Shooter identified in Tel Aviv attack

TEL AVIV, Israel,  Authorities have identified the suspect in a shooting in downtown Tel Aviv that left two dead and seven others injured.

The New Year's Day shooting at a Tel Aviv bar is the latest in three months of near daily attacks by Palestinians in Israel. Israeli security forces have stepped up security checks since September, seen above on October 23, 2015, patting down a Palestinian outside the Demascus Gate ahead of Muslim Friday prayers. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo
The New Year’s Day shooting at a Tel Aviv bar is the latest in three months of near daily attacks by Palestinians in Israel. Israeli security forces have stepped up security checks since September, seen above on October 23, 2015, patting down a Palestinian outside the Demascus Gate ahead of Muslim Friday prayers. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty one-year-old Nasat Melhem — an Israeli Arab — is seen on security footage browsing in a health food store before allegedly pulling a gun from his backpack, stepping outside and opening fire on a busy street. The attack took place Friday afternoon.

Alon Bakal and Shimon Ruimi, both Israelis, were killed in the attack.

NBC News reported Melhem’s father saw his son on the security footage and came forward to identify him. Sami Melhem, a relative of the alleged shooter, said a gun had gone missing from the father’s safe.

The manhunt continues for Melhem.

The New York Times reported Israeli officials are not calling the attack an act of terror. Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said on Israeli television Friday that the motive for the attack was unclear.

Ynet news reported Saturday that Israeli authorities questioned Melhem’s family as to whether or not he had ties to terrorist organizations. Melhem’s computer was confiscated by police.

Ynet reported Melhem had been sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to steal an Israeli military officer’s weapon.

By Ann Marie Awad

UPI NEWS