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Israeli family of Eitan Biran goes to court to block boy’s return to Italy

Shmulik Peleg, grandfather of Eitan Biran, who survived a cable car crash in Italy that killed his immediate family, arrives at court in Tel Aviv, on Thursday, November 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Shmulik Peleg, grandfather of Eitan Biran, who survived a cable car crash in Italy that killed his immediate family, arrives at court in Tel Aviv, on Thursday, November 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Israeli family of 6-year-old Eitan Biran asks an appeals court to halt the planned return of the boy — who survived a cable car crash in Italy — to his relatives there.

There is no immediate ruling in the latest chapter of the bitter custody battle between relatives in Italy and Israel. This week, an Italian judge issued an international arrest warrant for the boy’s grandfather, who whisked Eitan to Israel on a private jet in September.

Eitan’s parents and younger sibling were among 14 killed in May when a cable car slammed into a mountainside in northern Italy. His maternal grandparents in Israel and his paternal relatives in Italy are both seeking custody.

Last month, an Israeli court ordered the boy to be returned to his relatives in Italy, saying that was “the place of his normal residence.” It also ordered his grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, who had brought him to Israel against the wishes of his family members in Italy, to pay around $20,000 in expenses and attorney fees.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Peleg’s lawyer, Ronen Dalyahu, says the court promised a decision “in the coming days.”

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