A Haifa court on Thursday extended the remand of Mohammed Melhem, father of Tel Aviv shooter Meshet Melhem, for an additional three days. The elder Melhem was arrested for the third time earlier this week, with police detaining him because they believe he has “substantial” information on either the planning of last Friday’s attack in central Tel Aviv, or on the whereabouts of his son.
Now missing for nearly a week, police stopped searching for Meshet Melhem in the Tel Aviv area on Wednesday. Officials now believe that he is in the Galilee, but still have no solid leads as to his whereabouts. Earlier in the week, Melhem’s two brothers and a sister were questioned and detained; one brother is still in custody, while a second one was released.
Nachmi Feinblatt, the attorney representing the Melhems, said that the detention was unfair, bordering on illegal, as no charges have been brought. “As far as I know there is no solid evidence” that any of the family members knew what their sibling and son had been planning, or about where is.
As the search enters its seventh day, police have still not ruled the shooting, which killed two Israelis and injured eight, as a terror attack. No terror group has taken responsibility for the shooting either, but on Thursday, Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh used the incident to insult Israel. “We don’t know where he is, but we think very highly of him, since he is making the Zionists look like fools,” by remaining at large for so long, Haniyeh told a crowd in Gaza.
In his speech, Haniyeh said that Hamas would never allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. “We are building a force that will free Al Aqsa,” he said, referring to the mosque on Har Habayis. “We will never agree to a state in Gaza or the West Bank. All of Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea.”