Israeli Arab Suspected of Posing as Soldier and Raping Haifa Girl

Police had trouble finding suspect who feigned identity on Internet, then arranged to meet him under victim's name.

An Israeli Arab man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly posing as an Israel Defense Forces soldier and raping a 14-year-old girl from the northern city of Haifa.

The 21-year-old suspect from the Galilee town of Kfar Kaukheb Abu Aljiha apparently met the victim on an Internet social forum, where he pretended to be a 19-year-old soldier named Daniel Ofer from the Haifa suburbs.

The two allegedly met a number of times and on the last of these occasions, the man is suspected of raping the girl in his car. He has denied the charges against him and said that he has never met the victim.

Police said, however, that they have sufficient evidence to support the girl's allegations.

In October 2009, the two allegedly crossed paths online and agreed to meet in central Haifa during the city's film festival.

According to the allegations, the victim refused to see the suspect again after that incident and did not tell anybody about the rape as the suspect allegedly threatened to hurt her if she did.

A few days ago, the victim told her mother, who immediately lodged a complaint with police. Haifa police initially had trouble tracking down the suspect, since he had assumed a false identity.

Even after being a shown a picture of the suspect, police were not able to pin down his identity. Eventually they arranged a meeting with the "soldier" using the victim's name as a lure, and subsequently arrested him.