A day after fugitive Israeli Arab gunman Nashat Milhem was killed in a shootout with security forces, and eight days after he shot dead three people in Tel Aviv, his family on Saturday set up a mourning tent for him inside their home in the northern town of Arara.
Few people visited the home, and family members declined to talk to the media, a move neighbors said was “so as to avoid making it into a major issue,” the Haaretz daily reported.
Three locals were still in police detention, suspected of assisting the killer either before or after he shot dead three Israelis in Tel Aviv on January 1.
“It is true that this was a difficult incident and he is being treated as an arch-terrorist, but the family has lost a son. Every mother cries for her son, even if he turned out to be an unruly child who caused her sorrow. He is still their child,” a relative said, according to the Walla news website.
Among the crowded houses of the village was the home of a relative of Milhem, who is currently hospitalized. Neighbors pointed it out as a place where Milhem hid for five days in the extensive week-long manhunt for him. It was, one neighbor said, where the police and Shin Bet security service first found him. The door of the house had been torn open, revealing a chaotic scene inside.
The Milhem family had lived in the home about 10 years ago, and had abandoned it, Channel 2 reported.
Images published in the Israeli media showed the floor littered with clothes, and an unmade bed, as well as rooms strewn with food, dirty plates and packets of sugar.
The shutters on the windows of the house were closed, hiding the interior from prying eyes.
The outside of the house was littered with bullet casings; Milhem was still armed with the machine gun he used to kill Shimon Ruimi, Alon Bakal and Amin Shaaban on January 1 when he opened fire on the security forces on Friday afternoon. The gun was his father’s, apparently stolen from Muhammad Milhem’s safe at home.
Residents of the village told Ynet on Saturday that it was common knowledge that Milhem had been hiding in Arara all week, and that some members of his family were helping him, but that no one had wanted to be the one to inform the police of his presence.
Milhem will be buried in the cemetery of Wadi al Qasab mosque in Arara, alongside his cousin who was killed by police fire in 2006.