A week-long manhunt to catch Tel Aviv shooter Nashat Milhem ended Friday after the fugitive gunman made a critical mistake in his cat and mouse game with the security forces.
Milhem, who was on the run since killing three people in Tel Aviv last Friday, broke into the home of relatives in the village of Arara on Thursday night. According to Channel 10 television, the relatives encountered him on Friday morning, and at once saw through his attempt to disguise himself. He was reportedly wearing a hoodie, and he gave the relatives a false name, but they realized who it was.
The Shin Bet security service was swiftly informed of his hiding place.
Milhem’s miscalculation ended up being his undoing.
On Friday morning, the relatives called lawyer Nechami Feinblatt, the public defender representing Milhem’s father, Mohammed.
The father had been arrested earlier this week on suspicion that he was complicit in planning the terror attack carried out by his son, and Feinblatt had been appointed by the state to defend him.
According to Channel 10, Milhem’s relatives apparently called Feinblatt in order to pressure the gunman to turn himself in.
They told the lawyer that Milhem had broken into their home during the night, and asked him to relay the information to the Shin Bet security service.
Muhammad Milhem supported the move, telling his attorney to give the authorities every morsel of information that could help catch his son.
Feinblatt, bound by lawyer-client confidentiality, eventually decided to pass the information to the Shin Bet, and made sure that the relatives who called him would avoid any repercussions for Milhem’s presence in their home, the TV report said.
“I don’t remember if I gave you all the details,” Feinblatt wrote in a text message to an unnamed Shin Bet official.
“He broke into the home of [redacted] through the window. Rummaged through the closets. The wife of [redacted] identified him. He was wearing a hoodie and holding a container of water. She identified him with certainty by his voice and walk, even though he had introduced himself by a fake name,” Feinblatt wrote to the security official.
Police special forces and Shin Bet officials descended on the village on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, one week — almost to the minute — after he opened fire on a bar on Tel Aviv’s bustling Dizengoff Street, Nashat Milhem was dead.