Kidnapped 7-Year-Old in Israel

Public security minister says he is personally supervising efforts to find Karim Jumhour; arrests come after reports of deal reached with captors for return of the boy
Karim Jumhour Photo: Courtesy

Police have arrested four suspects as the search continued Thursday for a seven-year-old boy who was kidnapped outside his home two days earlier.

The four are due to appear at Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court Thursday morning for a hearing to extend their remand. Police said three of the suspects are aged 26, 27 and 41, with no details given about the fourth individual.

The development comes after a television report Wednesday evening that a deal had been reached with Karim Jumhour’s captors for his return.

According to Channel 10, Jumhour is healthy and unharmed, though police still do not know where he is being kept.

This screen capture shows a masked man kidnapping 7-year-old Karim Jumhour from outside his home in the Arab city of Qalansawe. Photo: Facebook

On Wednesday the boy’s family said they received a ransom demand from the kidnappers.

“They asked me for NIS 4 million ($1,090,000) but I don’t want to pay,” Jumhour’s father told the Ynet news website. “I’m waiting for the boy to return home safe and sound.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Thursday tweeted his concern about the kidnapped boy.

“I am personally supervising and monitoring the efforts to return him to his family and parents, and the Israel Police will do all in its power to ensure that he returns safely,” said Erdan. “Kidnapping a child is a terrible crime and one of the most shocking crimes that exists, and we will not accept such a despicable act.”

According to Hadashot news, the kidnapping is believed to have been carried out by a crime family over unpaid debts. Other Hebrew media reports said it revolved around a financial fight among the boy’s relatives.

Jumhour was snatched on Tuesday from outside his home in Qalansawe, an Arab city in central Israel.

Dramatic video footage of the incident shows a white car pulling up outside the Jumhour home and asking two young boys a question. As they answer, a masked man jumps out of one of the rear doors and pushes Jumhour into the car. The assailant tries to grab the other child, who runs out of arms’ reach. The vehicle then flees the scene.

“My wife and the whole family are still in shock,” the boy’s father said. “We cannot comprehend what happened. It is good that they didn’t kidnap another child.”

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