Tel Aviv shooter buried in his hometown

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Tel Aviv shooter Nashat Melhem was buried in his hometown with a small number of family members participating in the funeral.

Melhem was buried late Tuesday night in Arara in northern Israel in the presence of about 80 people.  His father, Mohammed, who is under house arrest for assisting his son for did not attend. Israeli media reported that security services said Mohammed Melhem would have been allowed to attend his son’s funeral but chose not to.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan withheld the release of the body for the funeral, which was originally planned for Sunday evening. In a statement issued Monday, Erdan said the body will be released when the family agrees to the demands of the Israel Police that the funeral be small and low-key, and not turn into a rally in support of terrorism against Israel.

The body was released for burial late on Tuesday.

St. Louis Ballet ad

Melhem, 31, was killed late Friday afternoon in a shootout with police near his home in northern Israel. He opened fire on Israeli forces with the machine gun he allegedly used in the Tel Aviv attack on Jan. 1.

Police said Melhem killed two young men when he shot up a bar in central Tel Aviv and then murdered a taxi driver who transported him from the scene of the crime. Six others were wounded.

Melhem’s father and two brothers, as well as five other relatives, were arrested for assisting Melhem or knowing where he was hiding and not reporting it. One brother was released and another was held on house arrest. Another relative arrested on Sunday was remanded to custody for seven days, and is believed to be strongly connected to the shooting, according to Haaretz.