Cyprus holds 12 Israelis over alleged rape of UK teen

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Twelve Israeli tourists, suspected of raping a 19-year-old British girl in Ayia Napa, arrive to the court premises with their faces covered in the eastern Cypriot resort of Paralimni on Thursday. — AFP

NICOSIA — Twelve Israeli tourists were remanded in custody in Cyprus on Thursday over the alleged gang rape of a British teenager at her hotel in the popular resort of Ayia Napa.

The suspects appeared before a district court in Paralimni where the judge agreed to a police request to detain them for eight days pending investigations into possible charges of rape and conspiracy to rape.

The Israelis — who entered the court premises with their faces covered — have not been charged.

The court hearing was conducted behind closed doors as one of the suspects is a minor aged under 18.

Relatives of the suspects also attended.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday after a 19-year-old British tourist alleged that she was raped at a hotel in the party resort where she and the Israelis were staying.

"The Israeli consul in Nicosia, Yossi Wurmbrand, is following developments and is in contact with the detainees. Their families have been updated," Israel's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ayia Napa is a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its party reputation and white sand beaches.

Britain is the island's biggest tourist market with around 1.3 million of its citizens traveling to Cyprus every year while nearby Israel is also becoming a key source of visitors. — AFP


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