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Palestinian Authority/Gaza, June 18, 2019

Arab accomplices still at large in rape of Jewish girl, 7, report says

Original source

World Israel News

The plot thickens in the shocking rape of a 7-year-old Jewish girl in the Binyamin region in Samaria. The suspected rapist was reportedly helped by two accomplices who are still at large, likely working in the same town where the rape took place.

Forty-six year old Mahmoud Nazmi Abd Alhamid Katusa was indicted on Sunday at a military court outside Jerusalem for the brutal rape of the little girl following a long investigation.

Working as a janitor and maintenance man at the elementary school which the girl attended, he gradually won her trust by being friendly and giving her sweets. Nevertheless, when he asked her to accompany him to a nearby house, she refused. He then took her by force.

"I'm going to do something fun for you," Katusa told the girl.

Katusa, however, did not act alone, according to Haim Bleicher, the attorney from the legal aid group Honenu who is representing the girl's family.

Two other Arab workers were present at the time. They held the girl's arms and legs and covered her eyes as she cried and begged to go home. They humiliated the girl as she was raped, saying she "deserved it," Arutz 7 reports.

Crime location

Police say the crime took place at a house that the suspect had been renovating as a part-time construction worker. This was revealed when, a few days after Katusa was arrested on May 1, a local resident appeared at the police station inquiring as to the reasons that he'd been arrested.

When the police asked the resident why he was interested, he said that he had hired Katusa to work on his home. The police then discovered the home matched the girl's description of the location where the rape had taken place.

Katusa's attorney, Nashef Darwish, tried to poke holes in the investigation on Tuesday.

"After I reviewed the details of the case, I can tell you – this is the Dreyfus trial – the case will be reversed in the coming days," he told Israel's Channel 12 News. "I say with certainty that people are going to be shocked by the result that will be received in the coming days."

The crime sparked a sharp reaction from Israeli politicians, several of whom called for the death penalty against the perpetrators.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: "The shocking rape of a little girl shakes the hearts of all of us. I would like to strengthen the family. It is on the courts to exercise the full extent of the law on everyone responsible for this terrible act."

The Lehava organization, an anti-assimilation group, blocked the entrance to the village of Deir Kadis in Samaria where the suspect lives.

Some in the media are also upset, wondering why the case was kept hidden from the press. Noam Amir, correspondent for Israel's Channel 20, tweeted on Monday:

"Many are very angry at the scant coverage of the shocking rape story... I am more disturbed by the fact that the story was "leaked" last night ... only after the indictment. How is it possible that such a shocking story does not reach the public at the time of arrest, interrogation, detention extensions??"

Yediot Ahronot reports that a source close to the family says that the parents are in terrible shape.

"It is important to them that no one know about the incident, except for the court. They are very worried ever since the incident went public. It has really affected them physically," the source said. "They really cannot deal with this incident. The mother is on the verge of total collapse."