All Israeli suspects in Cyprus gang rape released; British complainant arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

All Israeli suspects in Cyprus gang rape released; British complainant arrested

Tourist who said she was attacked is detained on suspicion of filing false complaint; ‘rape never took place,’ police source says

Israeli suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, July 26, 2019 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Israeli suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, July 26, 2019 (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Seven Israelis held in Cyprus on suspicion of gang raping a teenage British tourist in Cyprus earlier this month were released from custody Sunday, as police turned their attention to their accuser. The tourist has changed her testimony, saying the sex was consensual but that she filed the complaint against 12 Israeli teenagers because she felt humiliated by the fact that they filmed the act without her consent, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday, citing Cypriot press and police.

“All seven Israelis have been released, since 10 a.m.,” police spokesman Christos Andreou told AFP. “The young woman will be taken to court tomorrow morning (Monday).”

Relatives of the Israelis celebrated their release, singing, “Our father in heaven, how good is God,” in footage broadcast on Israel’s Channel 12 news on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier, a police source said the British teenager had been arrested. “She is facing charges of giving a false statement over an imaginary offense,” the police source told AFP. “Rape never took place,” one police source told Reuters.

Cypriot media said that she is suspected of filing a false complaint against the Israelis because they filmed her during the sex acts without having received her consent to do so.

“As I claimed throughout, there was no rape in Cyprus,” said Nir Yaslovitzh, an attorney for some of the suspects. “The youths who went on a vacation that became a nightmare will return to their homes today. All of them will return home to their families. Cypriot police carried out a professional and thorough investigation.”

Yaniv Havari, another Israeli attorney who represents a number of the suspects, told the Kan public broadcaster that his clients were able to provide convincing evidence that they did not commit the crime.

Nir Yaslovitzh, the attorney for some of the Israeli teenagers suspected of raping a British tourist in Cyprus, speaking outside the Cyprus court on July 26, 2019. (Screenshot: Twitter)

“She lied, she said 12 of them raped, that is what she claimed,” Havari said. “For nearly two weeks that is what she has claimed and after all 12 of the detainees gave their version, it seems her version doesn’t stand up.”

The dramatic development came after last week five of the Israeli suspects in the case were released and returned to Israel, though Cypriot police seemed poised at the time to file rape charges against at least three of those still being held.

In addition to those three detained suspects, whose DNA had been found at the scene, police had said they believed three other individuals may have been involved in the alleged crime — with analysis of DNA collected from the alleged victim’s body showing three unrecognized samples.

Twelve Israelis in all were arrested in the resort town of Ayia Napa last week on suspicion that they took part in the alleged gang rape. Some reportedly admitted to having consensual sex with the woman, while others were thought to have possibly been present in the room at the time.

The British woman filed a police complaint a week and a half ago against the Israelis, ranging in age from 15 to 18, who were staying at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel on the island nation’s southeastern coast.

The woman told the police two of the suspects held her down by the arms as she cried to be let go. She said that their friends then raped her, taking turns, and that several beat her.

Cypriot police found five used condoms and 13 condom wrappers in the room where the alleged rape occurred, reports said.

AFP contributed to this report.

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COMMENTS

Israel, Cyprus, Greek ‘Cooperate from Firefighting to Energy’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Israel, Cyprus, Greek ‘Cooperate from Firefighting to Energy’

Friday, 22 March, 2019 – 09:30
Israeli PM Netanyahu sits with US Secretary of State Pompeo, Greek PM Tsipras and Cypriot President Anastasiades during their meeting in Jerusalem. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv – Nazir Magally
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described cooperation with Greece and Cyprus, under the supervision and encouragement of the US, as the best and strongest regional association in the world.

He made his comment following a summit he hosted in Jerusalem on Thursday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“This is the sixth summit meeting between Israel, Cyprus and Greece. We began this a few years ago, and it’s blossomed into one of the best regional associations in the world,” said Netanyahu.

He added: “We cooperate in everything, from firefighting and now to energy.”

“We are planning to lay down a pipeline called the East-Med Pipeline, from Israel, through Cyprus, through Greece, to Europe, something that will benefit our economies greatly, provide stability for the region and prosperity to our peoples, but also we think would diversify the energy supplies to Europe,” said Netanyahu.

A source close to Israeli PM said that the summit unveiled a leap in military cooperation among the three countries, to the extent of establishing a joint supervision body in the Mediterranean Sea to protect gas wells.

Anastasiades affirmed Cyprus’ “commitment to promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region.”

“Revisionist powers, like Iran and Russia and China, are all trying to take major footholds in the East and the West. We view the United States, Israel, Cyprus and Greece as great key partners in security and prosperity,” said Pompeo.

In 2015, Israel participated in wide-range military exercises in Greece, including a training against a Russian-supplied S-300 anti-missile system.

European countries signed with Israel in 2017 the joint declaration to enhance the work aimed at extending the sea line to transport Israeli gas to Europe within the next eight years.

The 2,000-kilometer underwater pipeline is intended to have a capacity of 12 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The project includes the construction of a 1,300 km long submarine pipeline from the East Mediterranean gas field to southern Greece, as well as a 600 km long pipeline to western Greece, linking existing pipelines to transport gas to Italy and other EU countries.

2-day-old Syrian refugee baby airlifted to Israel for emergency heart surgery

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

2-day-old Syrian refugee baby airlifted to Israel for emergency heart surgery

Interior Minister Deri grants entry permits to father and child after Cyprus appeals to Israeli for assistance in treating the 2-day-old

Aviation Bridge officials pose for a photo with a Syrian infant being airlifted to Israel from Cyprus for emergency heart surgery on December 23, 2017. (Courtesy: Aviation Bridge)

Aviation Bridge officials pose for a photo with a Syrian infant being airlifted to Israel from Cyprus for emergency heart surgery on December 23, 2017. (Courtesy: Aviation Bridge)

A 2-day-old baby boy born in Cyprus to a pair of Syrian refugees was airlifted to Israel early Saturday for emergency surgery to repair a life-threatening heart defect.

The baby was born in a refugee camp in Cyprus where his parents had fled to escape the ongoing Syrian civil war. He was diagnosed with a heart defect that the Cypriots were unable to treat.

On Friday, the Cyprus Health Ministry sent an urgent request to Israel’s Ambassador to Nicosia Shmuel Rabel for assistance in saving the infant.

The Foreign Ministry appealed to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri for entry permits for the baby and his father, which were subsequently granted.

A day-old baby with a heart defect was flown overnight from the Cypriot Syrian refugee camp where he was born to Israel for emergency surgery.  (Pictures: Air Bridge)

The Syrian father and son arrived at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer early Saturday morning and doctors began prepping the infant for surgery.

“In Cyprus, there is no ability to provide any kind of complex treatment — including heart surgery — for children,” said Sheba children’s hospital deputy director Dr. Itai Pesach in a statement. “The baby is currently in pediatric intensive care and diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.”

The infant is expected to undergo heart surgery on either Sunday or Monday. He will remain in the hospital for “a period of time” to recover, Pesach said.

Pesach added that the Syrian father and son are accompanied by a medical team that speaks Arabic.

Officially, Israel has maintained a policy of non-intervention in the Syrian war and has not taken in any refugees. But the Jewish state has still managed to offer some help to its northern neighbors.

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משרד הבריאות של קפריסין פנה אתמול בדחיפות לשגריר ישראל ,סמי רבאל, וביקש סיועו להטיס בדחיפות ארצה, תינוק בן יומו אשר נולד  בקפריסין עם פגם חמור בליבו.
במשה”ח ציינו בסיפוק את שתה”פ המהיר של כל הגורמים שאיפשרו להציל את התינוק הסורי.
קרדיט- חברת גשר אווירי .

Since early 2013, the Israeli army has taken in some 3,000 wounded Syrians and ill children for treatment. Generally working at night, soldiers have provided initial medical care and then evacuated them to nearby hospitals.

While the numbers are a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded in the six-year Syrian war, both doctors and patients say the program has changed perceptions and helped ease tensions across the hostile border.

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French Prosecutor Says 4 Friends Plotted Imminent Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

French Prosecutor Says 4 Friends Plotted Imminent Attack

The “commando” of four arrested on Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg plotted to carry out an attack on Dec. 1, but investigators have not yet determined “the specific chosen target among all those considered by the group,” Molins said.

A fifth suspect was arrested in the southern city of Marseille at the same time as the Strasbourg suspects. Molins told reporters that suspect was not in direct touch with the other four, but was “given guidance remotely” from the same IS member.

The prosecutor didn’t name any targets, but security was tightened this week at the Paris headquarters of France’s criminal investigations police, reportedly among the locations studied. French President Francois Hollande said a “large-scale attack” was thwarted.

The night they were arrested, two of the Strasbourg group had just downloaded the Periscope application, which allows people to stream live on Internet with a cell phone. The app activity suggests they were preparing an “imminent” attack, Molins said.

The four Strasbourg suspects also were in possession of guns and ammunition, he said. Among the weapons seized during home searches were two handguns, two automatic rifles, several cartridge clips and dozens of cartridges of different calibers.

Investigators also found instructions for a money transfer, GPS coordinates and detailed explanations for obtaining more weapons on one suspect’s USB stick.

All five men had a “clear will to find and to identify targets to commit an act in the very short term,” Molins said.

In addition, the five “had common instructions to obtain weapons, instructions given by a person from the Iraqi-Syrian zone through encrypted applications popular among terrorists,” he said.

Investigators recovered a notebook that contained 12 pages of writing that referred to an armed jihad, death in martyrdom and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group leader, the prosecutor said.

After being held in custody since Sunday, the five were moved Friday to the Paris courthouse where they were to appear before counter-terrorism investigating judges. The Paris prosecutor asked magistrates to hand the five preliminary charges of taking part in a “terrorist criminal association” and to jail them.

Molins was speaking the day after anti-terrorism authorities took the unusual step of holding the men in custody without charge beyond the normal maximum period, relying on a recent anti-terrorism measure.

The five were later placed under investigation on preliminary charges of criminal terrorist association with a view of preparing attacks, a judicial official said. Three of the Strasbourg group were also charged with acquiring, possessing and transporting arms in relation with a terrorist enterprise. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and asked not to be named.

The four arrested in Strasbourg were two French citizens, both age 37; a 36-year-old Franco-Tunisian; and a 35-year-old Franco-Moroccan. Two of them had several criminal convictions in France, Molins said. The man arrested in Marseille was a 26-year-old Moroccan.

Two of the Strasbourg suspects traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border via Cyprus in March 2015, then prosecutor said. The Marseille suspect left Morocco in 2013 and made multiple trips across Europe with fake ID documents. In 2015, the Turkish authorities prevented him from entering Turkey, he said.

France remains under a state of emergency imposed after Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

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