Police arrest 4 suspects as hunt for kidnapped 7-year-old continues
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Police arrest 4 suspects as hunt for kidnapped 7-year-old continues

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

This screen capture shows a masked man kidnapping 7-year-old Karim Jumhour from outside his home in the Arab city of Qalansawe in July 2018. (Screen capture: Facebook)
This screen capture shows a masked man kidnapping 7-year-old Karim Jumhour from outside his home in the Arab city of Qalansawe in July 2018. (Screen capture: Facebook)

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.

Karim Jumhour (Courtesy)

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.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office in Bnei Brak, October 26, 2017. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

“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.

אוטו זר עוצר לילד בן 7 בפתח ביתו. נהג חייכן עם שאלה תמימה. הילד מנומס. רוצה לעזור. ובתוך שניות – הוא נחטף ונעלם.בטח תגידו, זה קורה במדינות אחרות, לא אצלנו. אבל זה קרה ממש כאן, לא רחוק מהבית שלכםhttps://goo.gl/jbZHhPמי ראה את כרים הקטן?

Posted by ‎ידיעות אחרונות Yedioth Ahronoth‎ on Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Dramatic video footage of the incident shows a white car pulling up outside the Jumhour home and a person inside 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 reach. The vehicle then drives away from 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.”

Qalansawe’s mayor, Abdel-Basit Salameh, described the incident as “shocking.”

“It is impossible to let something like this pass quietly,” he said. “At this stage we have no details on the condition of the boy. We are waiting to hear good news. The most important thing is that the boy is returned.”

Salameh said police have been searching nonstop for the boy and his kidnappers since he was taken.

On Tuesday night, checkpoints were set up near Baqa al-Gharbiya and Umm al-Fahm in the Haifa district.

A large number of police forces and a helicopter were involved in the manhunt.

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