Large contingent of police at family home of suspected Tel Aviv gunman

"I heard that my son did what he did, but that is not how I raised him, I am sorry," says suspect's father.

January 2, 2016 14:31
2 minute read.
Israeli policemen search for suspects near the scene of a shooting incident in Tel Aviv

Israeli policemen search for suspects near the scene of a shooting incident in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A large contingent of police forces were present Saturday afternoon at the Wadi Ara home belonging to the family of the suspected perpetrator of Friday's deadly shooting attack outside a bar in Tel Aviv.

Security forces removed  from the house in the northern town of Arara the suspected attacker's brother and computers.

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The father of the 28-year-old Israeli Arab suspected of carrying out the attack was questioned by authorities on Friday and Saturday.

"I am a law-abiding Israeli citizen. I heard that my son did what he did, but that is not how I raised him, I am sorry," said the suspect's father. "I went to the police and assisted security services. I join in the sorry of the families and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded."

The father of the suspect reportedly contacted police after recognizing his son in security footage broadcast on television following the attack.

The father told police that he received an anonymous phone call from someone who told him to check if his licensed firearm, which he uses as a guard in a security firm, was in possession at his home. He checked and found his firearm but then realized that it may have been his son, the suspected shooter, who made the anonymous call.

Following a security assessment Saturday morning, police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officials enhanced deployment and continued searches for the gunman who fled from the scene of the shooting, which left two killed and eight others wounded on Dizengoff street in central Tel Aviv.

The possibility remained that the attacker, who was still at large, was assisted in fleeing Tel Aviv. However, police had not discounted the possibility that the attacker was still in the city. Security forces were searching abandoned warehouses and construction sites.

On Friday, police swat teams and the Shin Bet conducted sweeps in the central Gush Dan and also descended on the home belonging to the family of the suspect in the New Year's Day attack.

The suspect's name remained withheld from publication under a court gag order.

The prospect of links to Islamic State ideology was thought to be among theories being investigated as possible motivation behind the attack. But a family attorney, Sami Melhem told Israeli television on Friday that the suspect is emotionally unstable and not an adherent of Islamic State.

"He is not sane. Lately he has been wandering around in a strange manner," Melhem told The Jerusalem Post's Hebrew sister publication Ma'ariv on Friday.

Police emphasized that all leads were being pursued.

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