Israeli police say that they have solved last month’s kidnapping of a 6-year-old boy from the central Israeli Arab town of Kalansua and allege that four Israeli Arab suspects were involved in holding the boy, Kareem Jamhour. Prosecutors were expected to present allegations against the four on Tuesday in advance of formal charges against them.
Police say that the investigation revealed that on the day of the abduction, July 10, the boy was smuggled into territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, apparently at a crossing point near Kalansua. The Palestinian Authority, which in turn arrested two suspects but released them shortly afterwards, denies the boy was ever taken to territories under its control.
A construction contractor, Ahmed Nakib, is the main suspect in the kidnapping and is alleged to have planned it because of a debt owed by the boy’s father, Jabar Jamhour. The three other suspects, Ala al-Souh, Souhib Abu Ghanem and Mohanned al-Mousarti, are alleged to have actually carried out the abduction.
The three allegedly met at the Airport City business park near Ben-Gurion International Airport and stole the license plates of vehicles that were parked there. They are then said to have driven to the boy’s home and forced him into their vehicle. The abduction was caught on video.
The boy was returned home three days later after he was said to have been found in Palestinian Authority territory, although PA officials deny that he was ever in areas they control. Israeli police said they managed to contact the boy’s kidnappers and recovered him and returned him to his family.
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In the course of its investigation, the police arrested a total of seven suspects, but three are not mentioned in the charges, apparently due to insufficient evidence against them. The four implicated in the incident are accused of kidnapping for purposes of extortion, falsifying a vehicle’s license plates, conspiracy to commit a crime, misleading a police officer and obstruction of justice. Police sources told Haaretz that the PA has arrested several additional suspects.
The Israel Police conducted a lineup for two of its four suspects, Al-Souh and Abu Ghanem, but the boy and his uncle, who witnessed the kidnapping, failed to identify them and they were released to house arrest last week. Police say they have evidence linking the two to the crime, but their lawyer, Hezi Cohen, said his clients deny the allegations, adding that their release to house arrest reflects the weakness of the evidence against them.