Cypriot authorities have arrested a group of 12 Israelis on suspicion of gang raping a 19-year-old female tourist in the country’s Mediterranean resort town of Ayia Napa.
The English-language daily newspaper Cyprus Mail reported on Wednesday that the Israeli citizens raped the woman in the hotel, where she has been staying during her visit.
The report added the woman, whose identity and nationality was not immediately available, has yet to undergo a forensic investigation. Cypriot officials are working to investigate the suspects.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that it was aware of the suspects' arrests.
“The Israeli consul in Nicosia, Yossef Wurmbrand, is following the situation and is in contact with those who have been detained. Their families have been notified,” a statement by the ministry read.
Late last year, Colombian police detained six Israelis accused of running a sex ring that exploited underage girls and forced them to have sex with Israeli tourists in the Latin American country.
Following a two-year investigation, Colombian security police managed to break up “an Israeli mafia that exploited and used girls, adolescents and women as sex slaves in Colombia,” said Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez in a press conference on December 9, 2018, adding that two Colombian nationals were also nabbed in the sweep.
The chief prosecutor further said that the “mafia” had been selling tour packages to Israeli settlers with a destination to several cities in Colombia, but in reality they had been used as a front for sex services with minor females.
Among the detainees was alleged ringleader Mor Zohar as well as an unnamed Colombian police officer, who is accused of helping protect the criminal gang.
Martinez added that arrest warrants had been issued for eight other Israelis accused of the same crimes in the case.
According to a statement by the office of the attorney general of Colombia, all the arrested Israelis had Interpol Red Notices, the closest thing to an international arrest warrant. It added that the whole criminal network was allegedly led by Benyamin Mush, who has traveled in and out of Colombia and Central American countries.
Officials confiscated assets belonging to the suspects worth $45 million. The testimony obtained from the victims revealed that the girls received between $65 and $126, and were forced to join a WhatsApp group code-named after the Jewish holiday Purim.
According to Colombian authorities, Israeli tourists would stay at hotels and take yacht trips and go to drug and alcohol-fueled private parties where women and minor females were offered as “sex slaves.”