Alleged Would-be Rapist of 8-year-old Girl Held

The Hadera Magistrate's Court extended the remand yesterday of a man who was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl. He will remain in custody for another week.

The girl, who lives in a moshav in the northern Sharon plain, was allegedly abducted by the man while she was with a friend in the moshav's main shopping center on Monday. The man is suspected of forcing the girl into his car and driving her to an area adjacent to the new cemetery in nearby Hadera. The man is then alleged to have removed the girl's clothing and forced himself onto her. The girl managed to escape the man's clutches and hid in the nearby bushes, where she was discovered by a passerby who called the police.

The suspect is a 37-year-old man who lives a few houses away from the girl he allegedly assaulted. Witnesses in the moshav said that earlier Monday evening the man accosted the girls at a pizzeria in the shopping center. It was there that he first offered both girls a ride in his car but was warned to leave by neighbors, according to witnesses.

The suspect allegedly waited in his car for the girls to make their way back home by bicycle. As the girls approached, the man emerged from his car and forced one of them into the vehicle.

The girl's friend rushed home, where she tearfully informed her mother that her friend had been kidnapped. The mother then alerted the police.

The passerby who found the girl hiding in the bushes, Mohammed Al-Nabari, is the owner of a nearby goat pen. He said that he grew suspicious when he saw the man driving along the road through the cemetery.

"I saw a confused man," he said. "I asked him what he was doing. He told me that he had an argument with his girlfriend and that he was looking for her. Then he left."

On his way home, Al-Nabari heard the girl crying in the bushes, and alerted the police.