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Police arrested two boys, aged 12 and 14, over the weekend on suspicion of raping two younger boys, brothers aged 7 and 8.

All four boys live in the same Haifa neighborhood.

The victims were allegedly raped repeatedly and violently. The suspects also allegedly threatened them with a knife, and said they would stab them if they told anyone.

The older suspect, whom police believe may be mentally disabled, has confessed to the rapes, and both suspects have been sent for psychiatric evaluation. Police are now investigating whether the suspects had other victims, and whether the suspects themselves were victims of sexual abuse.

The rapes came to light when the victims' older sister noticed a change in her brothers' behavior. She apparently had heard rumors from neighbors about the rapes, which took place in public areas. She complained to the police, with her parents' consent. A youth investigator questioned the brothers, who described the rapes and the suspects.

Police then arrested and questioned the suspects. The older suspect was remanded, but the younger was released, due to his age.

Police said that both suspects and victims come from problematic families, and that city welfare workers had been trying to remove all four from their homes, unrelated to the new suspicions.

The older suspect grew up with no father, and has never been in any fixed educational framework.