Israeli man wanted in Italy arrest case for cable car arrested

Police in Cyprus have arrested an Israeli man wanted by Italy for helping the 6-year-old lone survivor of a cable car accident from Italy and to Israel

Eitan Biran was the only survivor of the May 23 cable car accident in northern Italy that killed 14 people, including his parents and younger brother. Ever since then, he has been the focus of a custody battle between his grandparents in Israel and his relatives in Italy.

Earlier this month, an Italian judge issued an arrest warrant for Gabriel Abutbul Alon, who is accused of driving the car on September 11 that drove Eitan from his home near Pavia, Italy, to Switzerland. Also named in the arrest warrant was Eitan’s grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, who also sat in the car and then flew with Eitan to his home in Israel aboard a private jet.

Asked about Alon’s arrest, Cypriot police said on Friday that they had arrested a 50-year-old suspect in the arrest of a hotel in the coastal town of Limassol on Thursday on the basis of a European arrest warrant. Law enforcement officials said they believed Alon’s extradition to Italy could take some time if he chooses to fight it in court.

An Israeli court has ordered Eitan to be returned to his relatives in Italy, ruling that his move to Israel was illegal and ordered Peleg to pay about $ 20,000 in legal fees. But Israel’s Supreme Court earlier this month ordered a freeze on Eitan’s return until it decides whether to appeal the family members’ appeal to Peleg.

Eitan and his parents were living in Italy at the time of the accident. After being released from a hospital in Turin after weeks of treatment, Italian juvenile court officials decided that the child would live with an aunt, Aya Biran, near Pavia, in northern Italy.

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