The gunman in the deadly January 1 shooting in Tel Aviv reportedly managed to flee to a hideaway in his hometown of Arara in less than two hours after the attack, according to Channel 10 on Sunday.
Police identified Nishat Milhem, 31, as the perpetrator of the shooting that killed two young Israeli men at the Simta bar on Dizengoff Street. During his getaway, the Arab Israeli gunman killed taxi driver Amin Sha'aban near Tel Aviv's Mandarin Hotel.
According to the Channel 10 report, shortly after Milhem shot Sha'aban, he abandoned the taxi and used another vehicle to drive north to Arara, where security forces killed him
in a shootout on Friday.
The vehicle Milhem allegedly drove in about a mere hour and 40 minutes from the Tel Aviv area to his hometown possibly belonged to an acquaintance of his, Channel 10 reported citing information received Sunday morning.
Milhem’s hideout in the Wadi Ara town was found after an intensive by the investigation Shin Bet and police that included many undercover and overt operations. Authorities arrested five residents of the town, on suspicion of helping the terrorist hide there.
According to security forces, Milhem on Friday identified the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agents and the Counter-Terrorism Unit officers as they approached a structure he used as a hideout.
He tried to escape and then shot at security personnel using the same Spectre M4 Falcon submachine gun he had used in Tel Aviv a week earlier, the Shin Bet said.
Officers “returned fire and killed” the suspect, the Shin Bet said. “There were no injuries among our forces.”
Ahmed, a relative of Milhem's, told Army Radio on Sunday morning that the family had not been in contact with the fugitive gunman and that the local community was shocked by the development of events. Ahmed added that he believed that Milhem had sent someone to fetch him necessities while he was in hiding.
Investigations were now focus on ascertaining whether Milhem acted alone, and whether he received help in hiding after fleeing Tel Aviv. The Shin Bet was also seeking to examine whether he had come under the influence of Islamic State jihadist ideology.Yaakov Lappin and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.