Questions arise in rape of Jewish girl: ‘It doesn’t add up’

Problems have emerged in the case involving the rape of the 7-year-old Jewish girl by an Arab worker.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

No one doubts that the Jewish girl, 7, from the Benjamin region in Samaria was raped, but inconsistencies have led to some questioning whether the police have the right culprit, Ynet reports.

Forty-six year old Mahmoud Nazmi Abd Alhamid Katusa was indicted on Sunday.

According to the indictment, Katusa worked as a janitor and maintenance man at the elementary school which the girl attended. After winning her trust, he tried to convince her to accompany him to a nearby house. When she refused, he  took her by force.

The report says that Katusa was helped by two other Arab workers who held her as he performed his foul act. The men have not been identified and may still be working in the Jewish town where the rape took place.

But questions have arisen about the police report. Perhaps the biggest issue is the indictment’s claim that Katusa dragged the girl from the school to the apartment where she was raped. The girl cried and resisted as he pulled her along the  distance, which took 15 minutes.

A Jewish resident of the town who personally knows Katusa said in a radio interview on Tuesday night, “It does not make sense that he did it… It doesn’t add up that an Arab takes a 7-year-old girl in an ultra-Orthodox community in the center of the country for a quarter of an hour, and drags her when there are thousands of children on the street and yeshiva students who walk around in the street while she cries and resists. That does not sound right.”

“It’s not that we underestimate the seriousness of the story. We are just afraid here in the city that the attacker is still walking freely,” the resident said.

There is also a contradiction between the girl’s testimony and the police report. The girl said she was taken to the site where she was raped in “a big car.”

The case is further plagued by a lack of forensic evidence as the family of the girl waited a week before filing a complaint with the police. There was no physical evidence found that the girl had been at the scene of the crime, a home that Katusa had been helping to renovate as a part-time construction worker.

On Wednesday, Katusa’s attorney Nashef Darwish claimed, “The testimony of the doctor who examined her clearly states that there is no chance that this child was raped.”

Another matter is the date of the crime. Although the police said they know when it occurred, the date wasn’t included in the indictment after Katusa provided an alibi that put him in another place at the time it happened, Ynet reports.

Other questions surround the fact that neither the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, nor the top ranks of the police department were notified that the investigation was taking place. This is now being viewed as a major oversight given the explosive nature of the crime.

As a result of these problems, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Siso, head of the police investigations unit, will lead the investigation going forward, Ynet reports.

Israeli prosecutors will request an extension of Katusa’s detention on Wednesday.