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Italy. A boy who survived a roller coaster disaster, taken to Israel by his grandfather. The struggle to take care of Eitan continues

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Israeli police questioned a suspect on Tuesday in the alleged kidnapping of six-year-old Eitan. The boy is the only survivor of a roller coaster disaster in the Italian Alps. In the accident, he lost his parents and ended up in the care of his aunt living in Italy. On Saturday, he was taken to Israel by his grandfather – the father of his deceased mother. The boy’s family in Tel Aviv denies kidnapping. He talks about “bringing him home.”

Eitan Biran is the only survivor a roller coaster disaster in the Italian Alpswhich happened in May 2021. His parents, younger brother and two great-grandparents were among the 14 victims of the tragic accident. As the media wrote, Eitan survived, because when the car began to fall, his father wrapped his arms around the boy in an embrace. The accident was supposed to have been caused by a failure of the cable railway connecting the tourist town of Stresa with the summit of Mottarone, but the investigation into the crash is still ongoing.


Custody was granted to the boy’s paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, who lived in Italy. On Saturday, the six-year-old went missing – he was supposed to be picked up by his maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg. As reported by a woman quoted by the Italian media, the man showed up and took the child on a planned family trip, but they did not come back. According to the media in the Apennine Peninsula, the grandfather took his grandson to Switzerland and then by private plane to Israel.

A roller coaster accident in the Italian AlpsNicola Marfisi / PAP / EPA

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Kidnapping of Eitan. Israeli police questioned the suspect

Israeli police said on Tuesday that they had received a report of the kidnapping and transporting a minor to Israeli territory. As indicated in the statement, a 58-year-old man was questioned in connection with the case. The services did not reveal the suspect’s identity, but according to the Israeli media, Eitan’s grandfather was the interviewed person.

Earlier on Tuesday, the family of an Italian boy filed a petition for the return of Eitan in a family court in Tel Aviv, the Reuters news agency reported. The family’s lawyer, Shmuel Moran, said the court has scheduled a hearing for September 29. A decision on this issue will have to be taken within six weeks, Reuters noted.

A roller coaster accident in ItalyCorpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico

The boy’s grandfather was supposed to act “on impulse”

Shmulik Peleg’s lawyers confirmed that the grandfather took his grandson to Israel, Reuters points out. They explained that the man “acted on impulse” and fear because he was to be excluded from the process of deciding to care for the boy. He also argued that the child was not guaranteed adequate medical care in Italy. – We didn’t kidnap Eitan. We brought him home – said the aunt and sister of the deceased mother of the six-year-old Gali Peleg from Israel, who in August applied for the boy’s adoption. The woman claims that the parents of the six-year-old wanted to return to Israel before the catastrophe, and that the child was held hostage in Italy.

Prosecutors in Pavia, Italy, launched an investigation into the kidnapping of the child on Monday and called for the boy to be allowed to return under the Hague Convention. The boy’s paternal aunt, who lives in Italy, says it is “another tragedy for Eitan.” “He thought he was going with his grandfather to buy toys,” Aya Biran-Nirko said. “I’m sure the Israeli authorities will work together so that he can come back to me,” she added.

Main photo source: Nicola Marfisi / PAP / EPA

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