Twelve Israeli teens arrested in rape of 19-year-old British tourist

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A dozen Israelis – some as young as 15 – have been arrested in Cyprus on suspicion of raping a 19-year-old British tourist in the resort town of Ayia Napa, according to reports.

The woman filed a police report at a local police station on Wednesday saying she had been gang-raped by the Israeli teens the night before, the Times of Israel reported.

Three of the suspects – ranging in age from 15 to 18 – said they had sex with the woman, while the rest claimed to have had nothing to do with the incident, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The 12 boys appeared in a Famagusta court Thursday and were remanded for an additional eight days, while local media outlets reported that the woman is expected to undergo further medical tests.

Judge Tonia Nicolaou removed reporters from the hearing because of the suspects’ ages. Some of their parents were in the courtroom, where they embraced their sons as they filed in wearing T-shirts and shorts.

Some of the suspects told their parents that they were being mistreated by the Cypriot authorities, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing KAN Radio.

One mother told Channel 12 that her son doesn’t speak English well and can’t understand the legal proceedings. She said the boy called her “in tears” and said, “I didn’t do anything.”

Defense Lawyer Yaniv Habari told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper that he met with his clients and “they’re in a good mood.”

“So far the police have extracted DNA samples from them and at this stage I cannot provide further details. We are talking here about young boys, minors,” he told the outlet.

State broadcaster RIK reported that the alleged rape took place in the same hotel where the woman and the 12 suspects were staying separately.

The suspects said the British woman struck a friendship with two members of the group, with one of the two helping the other with the English-to-Hebrew translation, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Other Israeli tourists told Channel 12 that a large group of British guests began attacking Israelis whom they thought were close to the woman’s room once news of the alleged rape spread in the hotel, according to the outlet.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that it was aware of the criminal case.

“The Israeli consul in Nicosia, Yossef Wurmbrand, is following the situation and is in contact with those who have been detained. Their families have been notified,” a ministry statement said.

“We are trying to help them as much as we can, working according to the local authorities’ instructions. We are in constant contact with the authorities, and once we have more information we will publish it,” Wurmbrand said.

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