Charges Filed Against 6 Men Suspected of Raping Hitchhikers in North

Suspects, from village of Bir al-Maksour, allegedly committed sexual assault against 3 female hitchhikers.

Two indictment orders were filed Tuesday morning at Haifa District Court against six men from the northern village of Bir al-Maksour suspected of raping several hitchhikers in the north.

The first indictment, filed by attorney Ilana Fikus-Reutblatt of the Haifa District Attorney's Office charges the suspects with three counts of rape, kidnapping, sexual assault and threats they committed since December 2005 against three young women.

The indictment indicates that the two suspects, Salam and Ala Hujeirat, kidnapped a female soldier at knifepoint in December 2005 in the Kiryat Ata area, drove her to a nearby forest and raped her one after the other.

They then allegedly left the soldier, stole her backpack and fled the area.

Three days later, the two suspects and another man allegedly kidnapped a 16-year-old hitchhiker and two of her friends while they were waiting at a bus station next to the Kiryon mall in Kiryat Bialik.

The indictment indicates that the two friends realized the suspects were not driving in the direction they had specified, and tried to jump out of the vehicle. The suspects forced them to leave at knifepoint, it says, and threw stones at them.

The suspects later stopped the car on a dirt path, ordered the teenager to undress, told her they were terrorists from Gaza and beat her.

The suspects allegedly committed sexual assault against her and fled the area.

In November 2006, the indictment says, suspects Salam Hujeirat and Mohammed Radir picked up a 26-year-old hitchhiker at Bir al-Maksour junction.

They drove to a forested area nearby, the indictment alleges, committed sexual assault against her and stole her purse.

The second indictment was filed against Ala and Rami Radir, both aged 20, on counts of kidnapping, rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl.

The indictment says that in April 2005, the suspects drove to the Krayot area outside of Haifa, where they noticed the girl walking home.

They allegedly stopped the car next to her and offered to drive her home, and after she entered drove to the beach.

They allegedly exited the car with her, undressed her and committed sexual assault and rape against her while the others held her hands.

The court extended their remand until a future ruling is made.