7 Israeli teens freed after woman recants Cyprus rape report

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Israeli tourists, suspected of raping a 19-year-old British girl in Ayia Napa, leave the court after a hearing in the eastern Cypriot resort of Paralimni on July 26, 2019. A group of young Israeli tourists appeared again before a Cyprus court after the alleged gang rape of a British teenager in a popular resort. The group of 12 Israelis has not yet been charged, police sources said, later adding that five of them were released on Thursday. / AFP / Iakovos Hatzistavrou
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An Israeli teenager is embraced by relatives after being released from Famagusta police headquarters in southeast town of Paralimni, Cyprus, Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP)
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Israeli tourists, suspected of raping a 19-year-old British girl in Ayia Napa, leave the court premises in the eastern Cypriot resort of Paralimni on July 26, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2019

7 Israeli teens freed after woman recants Cyprus rape report

  • The 12 Israelis had come to Cyprus in three separate groups, some for a vacation before being inducted into the army, and didn’t know each other

PARALIMNI, Cyprus: Seven Israeli teenagers were freed from custody in Cyprus on Sunday after a British teen admitted her report of being raped by a dozen people was untrue, defense lawyers and a Cypriot official said.
Investigators concluded the 19-year-old accuser’s allegations “didn’t stand to reason,” Yiannis Habaris, a lawyer for two of the Israelis, said. The young woman was arrested and faces a public nuisance charge, he said.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the woman voluntarily recanted during questioning just after midnight, saying there had been sexual contact with the suspects but she wasn’t raped.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the case.
The state-run Cyprus News Agency reported that the woman allegedly told investigators she filed a rape report because she was “angry and insulted” that some of the Israelis allegedly recorded video of her having consensual sex with a number of them.
The woman has a custody hearing scheduled for Monday.
Habaris and another defense lawyer, Nir Yavlovitzh, told reporters they intend to sue the young woman on behalf of those she accused, who were detained for 11 days.
“We will proceed with legal action against the individual that made the false allegations, for damages, for every day and every moment they were in prison falsely,” Habaris said.
Yavlovitzh said the seven ranged in age from 15 to 18 and the young woman “needs to think clearly about what she (did) to the boys who stayed in jail.”
The Israelis’ parents wept and where “shocked” when they learned Sunday morning that their sons would be freed from police district headquarters in the town of Paralimni, according to Yaslovitzh.
Jubilant relatives greeted them with hugs and kisses as they were released later in the day. Some of the youths carried suitcases and got into waiting cars that drove them away.
“I feel great. The truth came out and I am happy,” one of them said. He did not give his name.
Cypriot authorities arrested 12 Israeli teenagers on July 17 following the woman’s report of being raped by a dozen individuals at a hotel in the popular tourist resort of Ayia Napa where she and the Israelis were staying.
Five were released Thursday after investigators found no evidence implicating them.
Investigators told a Paralimni court during a custody hearing Friday that the British woman was in a relationship with one of the seven suspects and had sexual contact with several of the other six over several days, lawyer Habaris said earlier.
The 12 Israelis had come to Cyprus in three separate groups, some for a vacation before being inducted into the army, and didn’t know each other.
Cypriot police provided DNA samples to Israeli authorities to locate three other individuals as potential suspects, but that assistance is no longer necessary since the case collapsed, Habaris said.
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This version has been corrected to show the 12 suspects were arrested on July 17, not July 18.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.