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Israeli Police Arrest Rape Suspect, Miss World Lifts Silence About Attack

Police have arrested an Egyptian-born Israeli suspected of raping and attempting to murder 19-year-old Israeli Linor Abargil a month before she won the Miss World pageant.

At Abargil’s request, a district court on Thursday lifted a ban barring publication in Israel of details about the case.

Abargil had previously filed for the injunction in order to aid police efforts to apprehend the suspect, Shlomo Nour.

Police detained Nour, a 43-year-old travel agent, when he arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this week.

A father of three, Nour lives in central Israel and has a business in Italy. He is accused of raping Abargil and trying to suffocate her with a plastic bag.

Abargil, who did not appear in court Thursday, said Nour attacked her last October after she went to his travel agency in Milan to arrange a flight home from a modeling job.

Abargil said Nour told her she could only fly out from Rome and subsequently offered to drive her to the Italian capital.

“Nour stopped the car in a place I do not know and sat next to me in the back seat,” a statement from Abargil’s lawyer quoted her as saying.

“He produced a knife with which he threatened me and raped me. Afterward, he tied me up and gagged my mouth with adhesive tape and tried to choke me with a rope and a plastic bag. I struggled with him with all my strength, and finally, when he did not succeed in choking me, he released me and asked me not to contact police.”

After the alleged incident, Abargil traveled by train to Rome, where she filed a police report.

Nour was arrested and detained for several days, but later released for lack of sufficient evidence.

Abargil, who lives in the coastal city of Netanya, refused interviews Thursday. But she said in the statement she believes it was important that the matter be made public, to serve as an example for other women who had undergone similar experiences.

While a publication ban was imposed in Israel, the alleged crime had been widely reported by the foreign media and on the Internet.

Abargil’s lawyer said his client also wanted to go public with her charges to dispel rumors about how she won the Miss World competition, held last November in the Seychelles Islands, which are located in the Indian Ocean.

“Any injunction against publication manufactures rumors,” her lawyer said. “We wanted to defuse any rumors that Abargil won the contest as a result of the crime committed against her.”

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