Police Chief: Tension in Tel Aviv Area Over Escaped Shooter 'Can Be Lowered Considerably'

Commissioner Alsheich, whose forces are still searching for the Tel Aviv gunman, says his policy it to 'minimize talk' about the investigation.

Police Chief Roni Alsheich in Karmiel, January 5, 2016.
News walla

The level of tension among the Israeli public in the central Gush Dan region [including Tel Aviv] can be lowered considerably, despite the failure to capture the perpetrator of Friday's shooting in Tel Aviv, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said on Tuesday morning.

In his first public statement about the shooting, in which two people were killed and seven wounded, Alsheich called on the media to be "responsible, like the public," when reporting on developments in the police search for the suspect.

"Where it's necessary, you'll see policemen," he said. "And where it's not necessary, you'll see fewer policemen."

Alsheich spoke in Karmiel after paying a visit to the family of Alon Bakal, who was killed in Friday's attack, and updating them on the progress of the police search.

"We are taking all tips from the public seriously, even if it doesn’t match our existing intelligence," Alsheich said. "We may find that such information uncovers a stabber or another terrorist."

"Our policy is to minimize the talk about the investigation," in order to bring it to a speedy conclusion and maintain security of those participating in the search," the commissioner said.

"It's possible that even afterwards, we won't be able to publish some things in order to maintain security and the effectiveness of the investigation."

Alsheich, who took over the reins of the police last month after serving as deputy head of the Shin Bet security service, has been criticized over his handling of the shooting and the subsequent search.

Senior police sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that at no time since the shooting has Alsheich consulted with senior officers or held a meaningful discussion about the needs of the police teams on the ground and the best way to keep the public informed about developments in the investigation.

They said that, in contrast to previous incidents, there has been no dialogue between the police and the Shin Bet, a body with a culture of secrecy. They assert that Alsheich has not changed the working relationship between the two agencies, a failure that is preventing discussion of crucial issues for the police, they said.