The arrest of an Israeli citizen wanted in the case of impounding the cable car in Italy

NICOSIA, CYPRUS – Cypriot police have arrested an Israeli wanted by Italy for helping him wake up a 6-year-old who survived a cable car accident outside Italy and Israel, authorities said Friday.

Eitan Piran was the sole survivor of a cable car accident on May 23 in northern Italy that killed 14 people, including his parents and younger brother. Since then, he has been the focus of a custody battle between his maternal grandparents in Israel and his paternal relatives in Italy.

Earlier this month, an Italian judge issued an arrest warrant for Gabriel Abu Paul Alon, accused of driving the 9/11 car that transported Eitan from his home near Pavia, Italy, to Switzerland. As stated in the arrest warrant Shmulik Peleg, Eitan’s maternal grandfather, who was also in the car and then flew with Eitan to his home in Israel on a private plane.

In response to a question about Alon’s arrest, Cypriot police said on Friday that they had arrested a 50-year-old suspect in a hotel reservation case in the coastal city of Limassol on Thursday based on a European arrest warrant. Law enforcement officials said they believe that Alon’s extradition to Italy may take some time if he chooses to fight him during court proceedings.

An Israeli court ordered Eitan to be returned to his relatives in Italy, ruled his move to Israel illegal and ordered Peleg to pay about $20,000 in expenses and attorneys’ fees. But the Israeli Supreme Court earlier this month ordered that Eitan’s return be frozen until it decides whether it will hear an appeal by members of the Peleg family.

Eitan and his parents were living in Italy at the time of the accident. Released from Turin Hospital after weeks of treatment, Italian Juvenile Court officials ruled that the child would live with his father’s aunt, Aya Piran, near Pavia, in northern Italy.

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