Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Saturday night spoke about the elimination of Arab Israeli terrorist Nashat Milhem the day before, and defended how it took security forces a week to track him down after he murdered three people in Tel Aviv.

Speaking on TV to Channel 2 and Channel 10, Erdan responded to the criticism on the lengthy manhunt.

"Within a week they located a man who acted cleverly, we should praise them. Even the US didn't catch (Osama) Bin Laden overnight," said the minister.

Erdan said that the searches continued in Tel Aviv even after it was surmised that Milhem had left the city, out of concerns that he might return for another attack. Instead, it appears he was given aid in escaping and hiding by family members and residents of his hometown of Arara in the north, where he was found.

The court on Saturday extended the arrest of four suspects thought to have aided Milhem until Tuesday, and the fifth suspect brought in for an extension hearing was extended to Monday.

Two of the suspects said they saw Milhem walking around Arara freely carrying a weapon. Residents of the town revealed that "many people knew" he was hiding out there, apparently aided by his family, and chose not to inform the police.

Milhem's father Mohammed was also arrested on suspicions of having helped his son. Mohammed Milhem's lawyer Nahmi Feinblat stated on Friday that he would be released from arrest on Sunday.

The Defense Ministry announced on Saturday night that Alon Bakal, Shimon Ruimi and Amin Shaban, the three men murdered by Milhem, will be recognized as terror victims. The announcement means their families will be able to receive financial aid from the national insurance institute.

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