12 Israeli teenagers held in Cyprus over alleged rape of British woman

Twelve Israeli youths were detained on the island of Cyprus Thursday, in connection to the alleged rape of a 19-year-old British tourist.

The tourist filed a complaint with Ayia Napa police on Wednesday morning, saying she had been gang-raped the previous night at a vacation resort.

The suspects, aged between 16 and 18, are alleged to have raped the woman in a hotel room at the resort on the south-eastern coast of the island. Medical examiners said they found bruises and scratches on her.

The teenagers, who were also on vacation in Ayia Napa prior to being inducted into the Israeli army, have not been charged yet but were brought before a district court in the town of Paralimni on Thursday. There, a magistrate brought them into custody for 8 days pending completion of investigations.

Authorities stated earlier that the investigation was in its early stages and it is not yet certain how many people were involved in the incident.

Due to some of the suspects being minors, the court proceedings were conducted behind closed doors in accordance with Cypriot law. As the suspects were escorted into the court building, one broke down in tears as the rest covered their faces with their T-shirts.

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Israeli men cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni town, Cyprus, Thursday, July 18, 2019. A Cyprus court has ordered 12 Israelis vacationing on the east Mediterranean island nation to remain in police custody for eight days after a 19-year-old British woman alleged that she was raped.

Israeli men cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni town, Cyprus, Thursday, July 18, 2019. A Cyprus court has ordered 12 Israelis vacationing on the east Mediterranean island nation to remain in police custody for eight days after a 19-year-old British woman alleged that she was raped. (REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

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Israeli lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh, who represents three of the suspects, said there was no evidence that the victim knew any of the suspects and that the youths were visiting Ayia Napa in three separate groups who did not know each other.

Yaslovitzh further claimed that investigators were attempting to gauge the youths by accusing all 12 suspects.

“I think it’s a trick,” he said. “They want to know how my clients will [react].”

Israel’s foreign ministry reported that its diplomats have spoken with the suspects.

“The Israeli consul in Nicosia, Yossi Wurmbrand, is following developments and is in contact with the detainees… Their families have been updated,” the ministry added.

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Ayia Napa is a very popular tourist destination known for its pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife.

Fox News' Morgan Cheung contributed to this report.