He was located in Wadi Ara in northern Israel, near his hometown Arara area. Initial reports said he had been “neutralized.” It was later confirmed that he had been killed.
He was tracked down to the building where he was hiding out, opened fire on the forces, and was shot dead, Israeli security officials said in a statement. An inaccurate initial report said that he had been shot in a mosque in Umm al-Fahm.
Channel 2 reported that the forces had sought to capture him alive, but were fired upon by Milhem, who was using the same weapon he used for last Friday’s shootings.
Channel 2 said he was tracked down to a building near to his hometown of Arara where his family had lived in the past.
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu praised the security forces for the operation.
Five people were arrested in relation to the case.
A Channel 2 report said he was located in recent days via a “personal item” that was found in the area of his hometown in Arara. The item was checked and found to match his DNA. He was then tracked down.
Hundreds of police officers had deployed in northern Israel and in the Tel Aviv area Friday, and inspection checkpoints were set up at several locations, a week after the deadly shooting attack by Milhem at a bar on Tel Aviv’s busy Dizengoff Street. Milhem killed two people in a Tel Aviv bar last Friday, before he went on to murder a cab driver whose taxi he hailed to make his escape.
Police today also descended in large numbers on a neighborhood in the Arab village of Arara, the hometown of Milhem. Authorities had warned he was armed, dangerous and capable of striking again.
Milhem was known to have fled the scene of the shooting on Dizengoff Street on foot, and hailed a cab on nearby Ibn Gabirol Street. The cabbie drove to north Tel Aviv, where Milhem worked. There, Milhem is said to have killed the driver, Ayman Shaaban, outside the city’s Mandarin Hotel. He then drove the cab himself to Namir Road, where he abandoned it near a bus stop.
Milhem killed two people in a shooting attack outside the Simta Bar on Tel Aviv’s busy Dizengoff Street last Friday, New Year’s Day, before fleeing and disappearing. Shift manager Alon Bakal, 26, and patron Shimon Ruimi, 30, were killed in a hail of bullets as the suspected gunman opened fire with a submachine gun he allegedly stole from his father. Seven people were also wounded.
Police on Wednesday evening officially named Milhem as the killer of Bedouin taxi driver Ayman Shaaban some 60 minutes after the bar attack. In fleeing the scene, police said, Milhem shot dead Shaaban after hailing and escaping in his taxi.
According to a Channel 10 report, it would be more difficult for Israeli authorities to track down Milhem in the north than in the West Bank, where the Shin Bet security service has many informants. Police assessments quoted by the TV station said Milhem had likely received assistance both before and after Friday’s attacks.