9/29/2022 | Mexico - The early morning raid on a Lev Tahor compound in Mexico, near the Guatemala border, took place on Friday, September 23rd, by Mexican police with assistance from a private Israeli team.
Two Lev Tahor members were captured and arrested with allegations of human trafficking, rape, and other serious offenses. Two other members had left the compound only days before the raid and are being sought by police.
"Numerous children were saved in the raid, including children forced into marriages as young as 12 or 13, and young teen mothers seemed to be hiding their babies under their robes." a person present at the raid said.
Police separated the boys and girls, with female police for the women, to ensure the sensitivity of their religious observances. Children were kept with their parents.
Special arrangements were made to accommodate the victims’ needs during their stay in a comfortable safe home for abuse victims, such as strictly Kosher food, Kiddush cup and wine for Shabbat, prayer books for Rosh Hashana, and even having a Shofar driven hours to their location for Rosh Hashana.
Yisrael Amir, who had left Lev Tahor three years ago and been trying to retrieve his now-3-year-old son, was reunited with him, and they flew back to Israel. "Their reunion was done with specialists on hand, and went much smoother than expected, bringing tears to many of those present" an eyewitness reported.
A special team including a former Mossad agent, child trauma specialists, and others, was present for the raid to provide the utmost care in this sensitive situation. In the raid, numerous documents were recovered, including letters discussing the brutal abuse carried out as punishment for infractions.
In an unfortunate turn of events, in the middle of the night, Lev Tahor members took the victims from the safe home, including the children that were awaiting travel plans to reunite with their families. The children are now held captive by the cult in dangerous conditions.
This raid deals another blow to the Lev Tahor leadership, following the conviction of 2 members earlier this month for their role in the 2018 kidnapping of 2 children from their mother’s home in New York.
The group leadership entails 15-20 people and still has an estimated 70-80 followers in Guatemala, many held against their will. As the recapture of these children illustrates the risk they still present.
IMAGES ASSOCIATED WITH PRESS RELEASE
[The raid] "took place after Mexican police gathered incriminating evidence against several members of the cult on suspicion of drug trafficking, rape and more."
-Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs
"There were 26 of the cult members who were arrested, including two leaders, that remain in custody until they can be brought before a judge and charged with the crimes they've committed."
(Former Mossad agent who participated in the operation)
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