Sexual assault victim (stock image)
Sexual assault victim (stock image) i-Stock

Investigators have obtained evidence backing up a 16-year-old Israeli girl’s claim that she was gang raped by dozens of men and teenage boys, police said Sunday.

On August 14th, the girl filed a complaint with police, claiming that roughly 30 men and teenage boys gang raped her in a hotel room at the Red Sea Hotel in the southern Israel port city of Eilat.

The complaint initially drew little media attention, until two men suspected of taking part in the rape were arrested last week.

Now, police say that a total of 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the case, with investigators working to identify more suspects involved in the rape.

Nine of the suspects now in custody are minors - 17-year-olds - with two adults also in custody.

The arrest of one of the suspects, a 27-year-old resident of the coastal city of Hadera, was extended Sunday by five days.

In addition, police have arrested a woman employed by the hotel on suspicion of obstruction of justice.

According to a report by Channel 12 Sunday, authorities have obtained evidence backing up the girl’s accusations.

“We have 11 suspects under arrest in connection with the rape,” a senior official told Channel 12.

“As time goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that the girl’s testimony is reliable. This whole case is based on her testimony, but her testimony is backed up by, among other things, the evidence that has been collected thus far.”

The official said that evidence confirmed that a large number of perpetrators were involved in the sexual assault, which he said lasted for an extended period of time.

“This was a horrific rape that went on for hours and hours.”

When asked to identify the evidence, the official said only that “we can say that we have in our possession sensitive material which we cannot and will not divulge.”

Other reports have claimed that surveillance camera footage from the hallway of the hotel backed up the victim’s claims, and that some of the suspects may have shared video footage of the incident.

News of the case sparked protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and drew condemnations from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, and President Reuven Rivlin.

The story has drawn parallels with another gang rape case which shocked Israel, when a group of youths, some residents of the Kibbutz Shomrat, were accused of raping then-14-year-old Yael Greenberg, a resident of the Kibbutz. Greenberg was raped over a period of several days in August 1988 by the young men, whom Greenberg accused of threatening her, before she was released.

Eight of the suspects were ultimately indicted, only to be acquitted in 1992. Four were later convicted in an appeal to the Supreme Court.