The Israel Police revealed Wednesday that cooperation with Russian police had led to the rescue and return to Israel of a mother and her three young daughters after they had been held hostage for three weeks in Russia.
Three weeks ago, the Yiftah Subdistrict Police received a complaint that an Israeli woman and her three daughters had disappeared in Russia. The 29-year-old woman's mother filed the complaint, from which police said a legitimate concern arose that the young woman had been kidnapped.
The woman's mother said her daughter and three granddaughters - ages four, five and eight - had traveled to Russia in August to test the waters concerning opening a business in the area.
The mother said she believed her daughter had been kidnapped in the area of Tula, south of Moscow, approximately two months ago. The mother based this claim upon a quick phone conversation that she had held with her daughter. The daughter had managed to take advantage of a momentary lack of attention by her captors to call her mother in Israel.
The woman's kidnappers are believed to be her half-sister and her half-sister's partner. Police believe the kidnapping was related to financial matters.
Police believe the woman, who immigrated to Israel from Uzbekistan six years ago, was lured to a small village by her captors, where she was then jailed together with her daughters in an apartment. While being held captive, the woman and her daughters were allegedly beaten by their captors. In one beating, the woman's arm was broken and left untreated.
After receiving the complaint, police said, the case was transferred to the Special Positions Department of the Investigations and Intelligence Division, which continued to coordinate the efforts to find the young mother through Dep.-Cmdr. Andre Kotozov, the Israel Police's representative in Russia.
Police said the Russian authorities worked "immediately" to secure the release of the woman and her daughters. Within eight hours of Kotozov being informed of the situation, police said, the four were rescued and transferred for medical observation.
Early Wednesday, the four landed safely in Israel.
Officers in the Intelligence and Investigations Division said the kidnappers had been arrested and were currently being investigated by Russian authorities.