Israel News for January 5, 2016

Manhunt Continues
As the search for Nashat Melhem, the Israeli Arab terrorist who killed three and wounded eight in Tel Aviv on Friday, continues into its fifth day, police are now suspecting that he managed to escape to Northern Israel or the West Bank. To do that they believe that he had help, which is why they are focusing their investigation on Melhem’s family.

Yesterday police arrested Melhem’s father, Mohammed, along with five other relatives and friends. Melhem’s brother is already being held in custody.

Speaking to reporters outside of the Haifa Magistrate’s Court, Mohammed Melhem called on his son to contact him and to surrender to authorities. It was Melhem’s father who first contacted police after seeing his son’s picture on television. “It’s important to me now that they reach my son and arrest him, because he’s still armed, and just like he murdered two people he could murder more,” he said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Roni Alsheikh told residents of northern Tel Aviv that they can reduce their tension level, but he did not give any more details into the investigation, claiming that doing so would hinder police efforts.

In an unrelated event, police arrested a 20 year old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem in Hertzliya yesterday. The man had told his father that he would carry out a terror attack in the city.

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Bomb Attack
A large roadside bomb exploded near an IDF force at the Lebanese border near the Shebaa Farms area on Monday afternoon. The explosion targeted an IDF Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer and another armored vehicle. No soldiers were hurt.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, which they say was committed by the “Samir Kuntar Brigades,” named after the notorious terrorist who was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in Syria last month.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah had vowed revenge for the attack, and this bomb blast could be related to his pledge. But it’s unlikely that this casualty free attack will satiate his vengeance appetite.

In response to the bomb attack, the IDF fired over fifty artillery shells at Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon. The Lebanese reported no casualties.

The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, urged both sides to avoid an escalation, saying it had stepped up patrols on the ground after the incident.

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Security forces entered the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem yesterday to demolish the homes of two terrorists.

One of the terrorists was a Bezek employee responsible for ramming into pedestrians at a bus stop in Jerusalem and then murdering 60-year-old Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky and wounding several others with an axe before being shot and killed by a security guard. He was the cousin of the two terrorists who committed the Har Nof synagogue terror attack. Security forces ended up sealing off his home rather than demolishing it, since it is located on the third floor of a building and destroying it would compromise the rest of the structure.

The other terrorist boarded a Jerusalem bus with an accomplice and began shooting and stabbing people. He killed three and wounded several others before being shot and killed by security forces. His home was demolished.

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Flight Chaos
The Israeli-Arab conflict spilled over into Greece yesterday, when Israelis on board a Greek airliner flying from Athens to Tel Aviv demanded that two Arab Israelis be removed from the plane. A small number of Israeli passengers refused to be seated for take-off, delaying the flight for over an hour and a half until the crew finally relented and convinced the Arab travelers to deplane and take a different flight. The specific reason for the Israeli protest is unclear, other than a general fear of Arab terrorism.

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Off Course
The Israeli navy might need to review how it guards the nation’s coastline. Yesterday, a Chinese sailor turned up lying facedown on a beach near Jisr az-Zarqa, just north of Caesarea. The town happens to be the only Arab town on the Israeli coastline.

It turns out that the Chinese man set sail from Greece and was apparently blown off course by heavy winds. The man was in good health and had a good stock of food and water in his sailboat.

After hearing his story, the Arabs that discovered the man on the beach were surprised that he was able to get past the Israeli navy. Let’s hope they don’t get any ideas. Go navy!

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