Manhunt for Tel Aviv shooter enters fourth day

January 4, 2016  

The manhunt for Nashat Melhem, the Arab citizen who murdered two Israelis Friday afternoon in a shooting attack at a pub on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, will continue on Monday, four days after the attack on one of Tel Aviv’s busiest streets.

Alon Bakal (26) and Shimon Ruimi (29) were murdered in the attack and several others were wounded, and an hour later the body of taxi driver Amin Shaban was found shot dead in the north of the city. Police are still trying to figure out whether Melhem murdered the taxi driver as well, or whether his murder was a robbery that went awry.

The latest development, as reported by Yedioth Ahronoth, is that the cell phone of Melhem was found by a student in a side road in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv.

According to the newspaper, the student came across the phone at about 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, shortly after the attack. She took it home and told her father about the discovery. When they turned the phone on it began to ring frequently with calls from Arabic speakers.

One of the calls made came from one of Melhem’s employers, who was trying to make contact with him. The father and daughter initially assumed that the phone belonged to an Arab laborer who would be coming back to work in the area on Sunday, but when they saw the name of the suspect on the news on Saturday evening they connected the phone to the attack and called the police, who came to collect the phone in hopes it might advance the investigation.

Residents of Tel Aviv revealed on Sunday that Melhem worked as a delivery boy at a vegetable store in Ramat Aviv in the north of the city for many years, meaning he is very familiar with the lay of the land.

Most of the details of the investigation remain under a gag order.

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