Israeli police said on Wednesday night that they believe the man wanted in the killing of two people in Tel Aviv on Friday was also guilty of the murder of a Yerushalayim taxi driver later on the same day.
The manhunt for the suspected murderer, whose name was confirmed by authorities as Nashat Melhem, an Arab Israeli from the northern town of Arara, continued into its sixth day on Wednesday.
Although his whereabouts were as yet unknown, the focus of the search has shifted from northern Tel Aviv to a northern area of Israel known as the Triangle. On Wednesday morning, a massive police raid was carried out in Baqa al-Gharbiyye in the Triangle, according to Israel Radio. Police reportedly searched the homes of relatives of Melhem in the town, but failed to locate him.
Security forces have also not ruled out the possibility that Melhem crossed over the Green Line into Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.
Melhem’s mother said Wednesday that security forces were threatening to demolish their home.
“They threatened as if they intended to demolish our house if we don’t disclose the place where he is hiding,” she said, according to Ynet. “I told them we do not know where he has gone.”
The wanted man’s father and brother were also detained for extensive interrogation, but have since be released.
On Wednesday, Melhem’s brother Juadat was released from custody five days after his arrest on suspicion of being an accomplice to the attack. He repeated his calls for his brother to turn himself in, and apologized on behalf of the family.
“We aren’t connected to anything and we are very sorry about what happened,” he said, adding that it’s better if his brother turns himself in.
Melhem is said to be armed and dangerous.