A huge manhunt is underway in Israel after a gunman shot several people at a Tel Aviv bar on Friday night, killing two and injuring seven.
Chilling CCVT footage emerged from a nearby shop showed him placing his hold-all on a shopping trolley outside the bar, removing a sub-machine gun and opening fire on a group of friends celebrating a birthday, before running away.
Security analysts noted the calm and professional manner of the attack, suggesting the assailant had been well-trained, leading to initial suggestions that it may have been a targeted assassination or a gangland killing.
Police have now named 29-year-old suspect Nashat Milhem from Ar’ara in the Galilee, and Israeli media reported that his sister and two brothers had been taken in for questioning, while his father has appealed for the suspect to hand himself in.
As Tel Aviv residents lit candles outside the Simta pub on Dizengoff Street, parents kept their kids at home, after police said Milhem was still at-large and likely armed with the sub-machine gun he is alleged to have used in the attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Saturday to increase police presence in Israeli towns with large Arab populations and to “demand loyalty,” in a speech roundly criticised by both opposition parties and political allies for “incitement”.
Netanyahu seemed to suggest that Arab areas had become “enclaves of lawlessness” within the Israeli “state of law” and vowed to stamp down in areas with Arab populations.
“We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector,” he said. “We will open new police stations, recruit more police officers, go into all the towns and demand of everyone loyalty to the laws of the state.”
He added: “I will not accept two nations within Israel: a lawful nation for all its citizens and a [second] nation within a nation for some of its citizens, in enclaves of lawlessness.”
Former Labor party leader Shelly Yacimovich said Netanyahu had “rushed to a pointless photo-op at the site of a painful, bleeding terrorist attack, set up a strange podium, and incited horribly against all Israeli-Arab citizens”.
Meanwhile Oren Hazan, from Netanyahu’s own Likud Party, was equally critical, saying: “We must not turn over a million [Arab] citizens into enemies.”
Friday’s victims mean that 23 Jewish Israelis have now died in three months of attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel, with more than 130 Palestinians killed in the same period.
Likud MK Amir Ohana this week led growing calls for a relaxation in gun-control laws, saying it would “give citizens a proper chance to defend themselves and not be slaughtered like sheep”.