The Ashdod Magistrate’s Court on Monday extended the remand of a Palestinian man accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Israeli girl earlier this year.
The suspect, a West Bank resident in his 30s, was ordered to remain behind bars for another week.
According to police, the suspect befriended the girl while working on a construction project at her school. After they became acquainted, the suspect took the girl to a nearby apartment building that he was also working on, where he sexually assaulted her, police say.
After an investigation was opened in late May, police said the suspect fled to the West Bank. He was arrested last week following a two-month manhunt. The court in Ashdod has barred the publication of his name and most details of the case to protect the victim’s identity.
The arrest comes on the heels of a widely publicized case in which a Palestinian man was accused of raping a 7-year-old Israeli girl. Mahmoud Qadusa, a 46-year-old maintenance custodian at the alleged victim’s school, was released in June after spending nearly two months in detention after the indictment against him unraveled for lack of evidence.
Last week, Hebrew-language media reported the suspect in the Ashdod assault voluntarily turned himself in to police when he heard he was wanted in Israel, and that he denied the allegations against him. The reports also quoted Israelis who knew him vouching for him.
The probe is still in its early stages and police said they would continue to investigate.