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8 Jan, 2016 15:20

Israeli police shoot dead Arab man wanted over Tel Aviv shooting - report

Israeli police shoot dead Arab man wanted over Tel Aviv shooting - report

Israeli police have killed an Arab Israeli wanted over last week's Tel Aviv attack which saw three people shot dead and seven injured, according to the country's media.

Nashat Melhem was in hiding at the Wadi Ara mosque in the northern Arab town of Arara when police tracked him down.

He was killed in a shootout with police counter-terrorism (YAMAM) forces at around 4:20pm local time, Ynet news reported.

He opened fire at law enforcement officers as he was leaving the building. He reportedly used the same weapon as the Tel Aviv shooting of January 1.

Following that shooting spree police launched a manhunt for the perpetrator. His relatives had identified him from CCTV footage of the Tel Aviv incident and tipped off the authorities.

Since the shooting, police have tightened security in Tel Aviv and its environs, with security forces patrolling the area in large numbers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated security forces for "acting relentlessly, methodically, and professionally to locate and neutralize the terrorist."

He was joined by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon who said "the elimination of the terrorist Nashat Melhem proves once again that the State of Israel would pursue its malefactors anywhere – within the state, along its borders and even far beyond them."

The motives for the shooting on January 1 remain unclear.

Melhem was arrested in 2007 for attacking an Israeli soldier and served five years in jail. The assault on the soldier was in revenge for the death of his cousin, who was killed during an Israeli police raid in 2006.