Israeli police raid religious group complex in Jerusalem

Israeli border police officers stand guard outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in 2019. (File photo: AP)

Israeli police said Monday they had raided a residential complex in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem in which dozens of women and children were being held and abused under extreme conditions.

The police’s undercover investigation learned details from women who had escaped the captive-like group. The police raid was carried out in coordination with the Israeli Center for Victims of Cults.

Police say a 60-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of heading the group and “committing severe offenses” against those under his influence. He and eight female accomplices are suspected of isolating some 50 women in the complex, along with children between the ages of 1-5, and keeping them out of contact with their families and the outside world.

The prime suspect, who was not named, is also suspected of stealing money and delving out various forms of punishment.

Superintendent Isaac Simon said the victims were held in “very cramped conditions and difficult sanitary conditions.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:06 - GMT 11:06