Eitan Biran, boy who survived cable car crash, returns to Italy

Six-year-old left Israel with aunt amid bitter custody dispute.

Eitan Biran, the six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a horrific cable car crash in May, returned to his family home in Italy on Friday night following a supreme court ruling in Israel.

The high court of justice in Tel Aviv had rejected a final appeal by the boy's maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, who is accused of abducting the child to Israel on a private plane, via Switzerland, on 11 September.

On Friday evening Eitan travelled back to Italy with his paternal aunt Aya Biran Nirko and her family, 84 days after he was taken illegally to Tel Aviv by his grandfather.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted a Biran family spokesperson as saying: "Eitan is coming home with his aunt, which is next to the house where he grew up since he was a month old, the home of his deceased parents, which is also close to the home of his father's grandparents who are awaiting his return".

Eitan - whose parents, two-year-old brother and great-grandparents were among the 14 people killed in the tragedy in Mottarone - had been placed in the custody of his aunt Aya and her family who live in Pavia, northern Italy.

However the boy became the subject of a bitter custody battle, with his mother's family insisting he should move to Israel despite having lived in Italy since he was a baby.

On 29 November the supreme court in Israel ruled that as Eitan has "lived in Italy almost all of his life" he could not be removed from his "habitual residence".

The verdict found that Italy had been chosen by the child's parents as the place to settle indefinitely: they had moved "without setting a date for their return to Israel".

Italian newspaper La Repubblica quoted the Biran family lawyers on Friday as saying: "Eitan will now be returning to his routine, all his medical, therapeutic and educational settings, his friends in the neighbourhood and at school, the community he grew up in and his beloved cat Oliver."

Photo Il Giornale

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Address 27100 Pavia, Province of Pavia, Italy

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Eitan Biran, boy who survived cable car crash, returns to Italy

27100 Pavia, Province of Pavia, Italy