Remand Extended for Three Suspects in Ashkelon Gang Rape

Ashdod Magistrate Court on Friday extended by six days the remand of three suspects in a gang rape in Ashkelon last week. The three - Roman Lerman, Yevgeny Hankin and Alexander Dolgov, all aged 21 and from Kiryat Gat - turned themselves in to Ashkelon police a day earlier.

They admitted they were in the park at the time of the crime, but denied taking part. Four of the five suspects in the rape of the 17-year-old woman, including the primary suspect, Leonid Barshansky, 27, of Ashkelon, are now under arrest. Police know the fifth suspect and had not located him, but sources said they are "very close" to arresting him.

The suspects were traced following a telephone call made by the alleged gang leader Barshansky to the rape victim to arrange to meet her near her home. He told the police he had asked her to accompany him and his friends to Ashkelon National Park, where first he and then his friends had sexual intercourse with her.

The woman claims she was forcibly abducted by the men and that the sex was accompanied by violence. Afterward she was interned for two days at the Barzilai Hospital's psychiatric ward suffering from "deep trauma."