Palestinian arrested on suspicion of molesting 13-year-old girl

Police say suspect met alleged victim at school in Ashdod where he worked, fled to West Bank after investigation was opened

Illustrative. Buildings in the southern city of Ashdod. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)
Illustrative. Buildings in the southern city of Ashdod. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Police announced Wednesday the arrest of a Palestinian man suspected of molesting a 13-year-old Israeli girl at the school where he worked.

The suspect, a West Bank resident in his 30s, was working on renovations at a school in the southern city of Ashdod at the time the suspected crimes took place, according to a police statement.

Police said the suspect became acquainted with the victim while he worked there and that they once went to an apartment he was renovating near the school, where he is suspected of molesting her.

After an investigation was opened in late May, police said the suspect fled to the West Bank. He was arrested on Tuesday, and on Wednesday a court extended his remand until July 15.

Hebrew TV reports later Wednesday said the man had voluntarily presented himself for police questioning several days ago when he heard he was being sought, 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.

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.

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