Police have arrested four suspects over the kidnapping of Karim Jumhour, a seven-year old Arab boy from the village of Kalansuwa in central Israel, the Israel Police said on Thursday.
Three residents of the city of Lod, aged 27, 41 and 26 were arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of involvement of the abduction of the boy. They were taken for questioning by the police’s central unit. On Thursday morning the suspects brought for remand extension hearings at the Rishon Lezion court. A fourth suspect was arrested on Thursday. The court extended the remand of all four suspects until July 19.
On Tuesday, police received a report that the boy had been kidnapped from the entrance to his home and began extensive searches to find him.
Footage of the incident released by the police shows Jumhour walking toward a white car with a family member, and the kidnappers, sitting in the front seats appear to say something to the boys. The older boy opens the door to the backseat of the car and a masked man pushes Jumhour into the white vehicle, gets in after him, and they immediately drive away. The other boy runs away back toward the house.
The background for the incident is reportedly a financial dispute between the boy’s family and the kidnappers.
Israeli media reported that the kidnappers had demanded that the boy’s father pay them a ransom of four million shekels and he refused.
Police search operations to find Jumhour are ongoing.
“This is a grave and rare incident which crosses red lines and we are using all our resources – both covert and overt – to find the boy as soon as possible and bring him back to his family in Kalansua,” the spokeswoman for the Sharon police district told The Jerusalem Post.
Reports indicate that police are searching in the West Bank and well as inside the Green Line.
Members of Knesset from left-wing and Arab parties expressed outrage Wednesday following 24 hours of relative silence in the country concerning the kidnapping.
Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh visited the boy’s family on Wednesday, and later commented on the incident: “Just yesterday I held a special day on violence and crime in the Arab community, after which we were immediately informed about this horrible case,” he said. “Organized crime in the Arab sector is making life miserable for Arab citizens.”
Odeh reiterated his desire and intent to abolish organized crime and end the phenomenon of illegal weapons in the Arab community. “We demand a life of security for the Arab society,” he said. “There is only one police force in the country and it cannot continue treating the Arab communities as a backyard.”Tamar Ben-Ozer contributed to this report.