Supreme Court stiffens sentence of accessory in Tel Aviv New Year’s Day attack
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Supreme Court stiffens sentence of accessory in Tel Aviv New Year’s Day attack

Mohammed Milhem to serve a year in prison for buying cellphone for terrorist who killed 3 in IS-inspired attack in 2016

Israelis light candles at the Simta bar on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv, on January 02, 2016, a day after two people were killed in a shooting there. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis light candles at the Simta bar on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv, on January 02, 2016, a day after two people were killed in a shooting there. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

An Israeli man was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison for providing assistance to Nashat Milhem, the Islamic State-inspired terrorist who killed three people in a shooting in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Day, 2016.

The Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling by the Haifa District Court, which had sentenced Mohammed Milhem to 300 hours of community service for purchasing a cellphone for Nashat Milhem while he was on the run from security forces, despite the fact that the latter admitted to him that he had carried out the shooting.

“Providing assistance to a murderous terrorist falls in the category of a grave offense… the sentence handed down to the accessory must be severe enough to deter others in his situation from providing assistance of any kind to the principal offender and by doing so dilute the pool of accessories,” the court said in its ruling.

Mohammed Milhem met Nashat Milhem while he was hiding out near his family home in the village of Ar’ara in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel. He purchased a cellphone for him and took it to his hiding place.

Nashat Milhem, the Arab Israeli man who killed three Israelis in Tel Aviv on January 1, 2016. (Israel Police)

“The assistance provided not only enabled the terrorist to make contact with his supporters and increase his chances of escaping security forces, but made the terrorist more dangerous as he could have committed another attack,” the court said.

Nashat Milhem killed two people in the shooting attack outside the Simta Bar on Tel Aviv’s busy Dizengoff Street. Shift manager Alon Bakal, 26, and patron Shimon Ruimi, 30, were killed in a hail of bullets as the gunman opened fire with a submachine gun. Seven people were wounded.

Milhem later shot dead Bedouin taxi driver Ayman Shaaban as he fled the scene. He abandoned the taxi on a road in northern Tel Aviv before taking a bus to Ar’ara. He was tracked down by security forces a week later after a massive manhunt and was shot dead after opening fire.

Nashat Milhem had previously been jailed for five years for a 2007 attack in which he tried to steal a soldier’s gun.

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