TWELVE Israeli tourists, some said to be minors were arrested early on Wednesday on suspicion of having taken part in the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old female British tourist in Ayia Napa.
The 19-year-old filed a report to police on Wednesday, claiming that she was raped by 12 men, all Israeli nationals, in the Ayia Napa hotel where she has been staying during her visit.
The group, some of them reportedly minors were arrested in Ayia Napa and Paralimni and were expected to appear in court today for a remand hearing after the 19-year-old was medically examined.
The case was widely reported in Israeli media. The Times of Israel reported that two of the suspects were aged 16 and 17.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the group came here on holiday ahead of their army service and deny the allegations. They said the British tourist struck a friendship with two members of the group, with one of the two helping English to Hebrew communication.
According to the suspects, what took place between the young woman and the Israelis happened “with consent,” the newspaper reported.
It also quoted one of the mothers of the Israelis telling Israel’s Channel 12 that her son doesn’t speak English well and can’t understand the legal process. According to her, he called her “in tears” and said, “I didn’t do anything.”
The Israeli foreign ministry said in an announcement that it was aware of the arrests. “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,” it said.
According to the Jerusalem Post, after news of the alleged rape spread in the hotel, a large group of British people staying there began beating Israelis who they thought were involved in the alleged incident.
The story was also reported by Britain’s Daily Mail, under the headline, ‘British woman, 19, is gang-raped in a hotel by Israeli tourists in Cyprus party town Ayia Napa’.