Four suspects were arrested Thursday night in the kidnapping of a 7-year-old Israeli boy who was taken on Tuesday outside his home in the central Israeli city of Kalansua.
The police said that they were checking whether the boy, identified as Karim Jamhour, had been moved to the Palestinian Authority, and searches for him continued.
The police said they will seek to extend the remand of the suspects: a resident of Ramla and three Lod residents, aged 41, 27 and 26. The case is being dealt with at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court.
Footage released Wednesday of Jamhour's abduction show the boy being dragged forcefully into a white vehicle where at least two men were sitting.
The video shows Jamhour approaching the car that carried his kidnappers along with another young boy who is a member of his family.
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The other boy can be seen opening the back door of the car. A man then gets out of the vehicle, pushs Jamhur inside and going back in after him. The car then flees the scene.
Jamhour's father, Jabar, told police investigators that the kidnappers had contacted him and demanded that he pay four million shekels (1.9 million dollars) in ransom to get his boy back. According to the boy's father, he refused the kidnappers' demand. He said that they then lowered the sum to one million shekels, and that he refused to pay once more.
A family relative told Haaretz that Jabar Jamhour was a contractor and that he was not known to be in any disputes with people.
Jamhour's uncle, Samir Hadija, told Haaretz that the family hasn't left the house since the boy was kidnapped. "We're used to seeing things like this on television and in the movies, but not in our reality," he said. "People are constantly talking about violence in the Arab society and lack of security, but for it to come to a kidnapping is something no one would have imagined could happen."
Some 50 people demonstrated outside the Taibeh police station on Wednesday to protest the kidnapping. The protest was organized by Kalansua’s youth movement Al Hirak Ashbabi.
Diya Taiya, one of the protest leaders, told Haaretz the police had entered Kalansua with a large force two days ago to carry out a demolition, “but when a boy is kidnapped at noon outside his home, it’s just another event.
“If that boy had been taken in one of the neighboring cities, the whole state would be up on its feet, but because it was here it’s seen as just another criminal case,” he said.
Taiya said that since the kidnapping, many residents won’t allow their children out into the street or around the neighborhood.
“This is a test case for the police,” he said. “It’s been 48 hours and the boy has not been returned to his parents. We all hope it will end well and that the police do their job.”
MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, visited the Jamhour family on Wednesday. “The crime organizations are making the Arab residents’ lives a misery and we want to eject them from our midst and remove the illegal weapons,” he said.
“We demand safety for the Arab population. There’s only one police force in Israel and it cannot continue to treat the Arab communities like a backyard,” he said.