A man alleged to have aided and abetted the Israeli Arab who went on a shooting spree in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Day, killing three people and wounding seven others, was arrested on Sunday in the town of Arara.
The suspect was detained by authorities and brought to a building near the hideout used by Nashat Milhem, the gunman who was subsequently killed in a shootout with police counter-terrorist commandos on Friday.
The arrested individual was hauled out of his apartment, which was raided and ransacked by investigators looking for clues into Milhem’s motive as well as possible incriminating evidence.
Closed-circuit security cameras captured footage of investigators forcibly escorting the suspect into an unmarked police van at the scene.
Just over 48 hours after Milhem was killed in a brief shootout, Israel Police are delaying the return of his corpse to the family for burial. The decision is a directive handed down by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, according to a report by Army Radio.
An aide to the minister told the IDF-run radio station that the delay was a means to deny attempts to use Milhem’s body as a propaganda tool to incite against the state during his funeral.
Authorities are also searching for other possible co-conspirators in Arara who may have helped Milhem avoid arrest for nearly a week after the attack.
Milhem's father and brother were released to house arrest on Sunday, the family’s attorney said, less than a week after they were arrested on suspicion of being accomplices to the gunman.
Attorney Nachmi Feinblatt said there is a third relative who is still in custody, but that his hearing at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court is later on Sunday and he expects him to be released.
Both men released on Sunday were given 10 days house arrest and required to post a NIS 15,000 bond.
Feinblatt said the gag order remaining on the investigation prohibits him from saying what the exact charges are against Nashat’s family members.
Nashat’s father Muhammad was first arrested last Tuesday after days in which he repeatedly took to the press to issue pleas for his son to turn himself in.
On Friday, Nashat was found by Shin Bet and Israel Police officers hiding inside a building in Arara, where he was shot after he came outside and opened fire on security forces, the Shin Bet said Friday. The building was empty, but had previously been used by the Milhem family.
Investigators are currently focusing on the possibility that Nashat already arrived in Arara within hours of the shooting attack on New Year’s Day, where he took shelter in a pre-arranged safe house. Investigators assumed that he was helped by multiple both before and after the attack.
Mohammed Milhem is a former volunteer Israel Police officer who due to his former work with the police was given a license for the submachine gun used by his son in the attack.
Mohammed is one of several relatives of Nashat’s who have been arrested since the attack, including a brother, Juadat, who was released last week.
On Saturday night, National Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said that the investigation into the attack and Nashat’s week on the run is far from over, and that investigators “will continue to work to systematically expose all accomplices and bring them to justice.”