Police out in large numbers looking for Friday pub shooter
A day after the deadly shooting on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, police suspect the shooter has reached a hideaway. They are now waiting for him to make a mistake and reveal himself. They are investigating another murder, which happened an hour later, to see if it has a connection to the pub attack.
"We continue to search exactly as we did yesterday," said a police official, "right now there isn't any indication of where he is, and that's why forces are spread all over the Central region and northern Tel Aviv."
The shooter apparently did not carry a cell phone, which could have been used to gather information about his escape route. Unless he prepared a hideaway in advance he'll have to move in order to eat, and that's what police are currently waiting for. The police don't discount the possibility that he is being assisted by someone else, and are trying to find out if any of his family members or friends knew of his plans beforehand.
At first, police were unsure if the event was a terror attack or a criminally-motivated shooting. Hours later, the suspicion that it was terror-related gained strength: The shooter's father called the police and reported identifying his son in the footage that was broadcast in the news. The terrorist is an Israeli Arab man who has expressed support for ISIS in the past. The bag he left behind in the nearby shop contained a Quran.
The attacker is a 31-year-old resident of Ar'ara, and was once sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to steal an IDF soldier's weapon. He attacked the soldier at the Karkur junction, hitting him and attempting to grab the soldier's M-16 rifle. In the end, the soldier, who later required hospitalization, managed to overcome the attacker and caused him to flee the scene.
The attacker was arrested the next day, assaulting a policeman in the process. He was diagnosed with mental problems, albeit not problems that would absolve him of criminal responsibility for his acts. He apparently developed a drug and alcohol habit starting at a young age.
The attacker also has a past of drug offenses. He was arrested in 2005 after selling 1.1 kilograms of hashish to an undercover policeman for NIS 16,500. He was sentenced to treatment in a facility under house-arrest conditions.
Meanwhile, police are still investigating another murder that happened about an hour after the Shooting in Dizengoff Street. Amin Shaaban, 42 year-old taxi driver from Lod was found dead in the sands near the Mandarin Hotel in northern Tel Aviv. The police are checking to see if his murder is somehow connected to the pub shooting.
A press gag order was issued on Friday for both cases.