The French foreign minister Alain Juppé stands next to Noam Shalit, father of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, during his visit to the family's protest tent, outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residency in Jerusalem last week. Sergeant Shalit. who also holds French nationality, was captured 1803 days ago by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip.
The French foreign minister Alain Juppé stands next to Noam Shalit, father of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, during his visit to the family's protest tent, outside Prime Minister Benjamin Show more

Family of Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006 go to court in Paris



PARIS // An Israeli family frustrated by their government's failure to free their son from Hamas captors filed a legal complaint in France yesterday.

Noam Schalit wants an investigation into who captured his son, Sergeant Gilad Schalit, in 2006 and who is holding him now.

He filed the lawsuit in Paris and hopes this action will lead to arrest warrants for members of the Palestinian militant group who kidnapped his son.

Sergeant Schalit, 24, holds joint Israeli and French citizenship, which is why the suit was filed in France.

The complaint does not name anyone specifically, leaving it up to an eventual investigation to determine who might have been involved. But Sergeant Schalit's father says he is after Hamas.

"We hope the judge will open an investigation and will take any action at his disposal, including an arrest warrant" for those suspected in the kidnapping, he told reporters at the main Paris courthouse yesterday.

The complaint was filed with an investigating judge, who under French law then decides whether to open an inquiry or investigation.

"Our job is to bring him home after so many years," Mr Schalit said.

Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted of murdering Israeli civilians, in exchange for Sergeant Schalit's freedom.

Hamas has banned the Red Cross from seeing him and little is known about his condition.

Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas's military wing, said: "We advise the Schalit family to file a lawsuit against the occupation government, which has obstructed all attempts to reach prisoner swap agreement."

Mr Schalit suggested that Israel's government has not done enough to pressure Hamas to release his son. France's government has repeatedly called for his release since militants linked to Gaza's ruling Hamas group seized him in a cross-border raid.

"When an investigating judge issues an international arrest warrant, that has a totally different impact," said his French lawyer, Pierre-Francois Veil.

Another French lawyer on the case said French judges might have more success than Israeli counterparts.

"The bottom line is that Gilad hasn't returned after five years. Unfortunately, Israel doesn't know how to pressure Hamas and we're using the little that we have at our disposal, in places outside Israel as well, to try to use some kind of leverage against Hamas and its leaders," Sgt Gilad's father said on Israeli radio yesterday.

The office of Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the lawsuit, but the prime minister has repeatedly said that he is working tirelessly to bring the soldier home.

At his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Mr Netanyahu again urged Hamas to free the soldier and urged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is now in reconciliation talks with Hamas, to use his sway to get him released.

The case of Sergeant Schalit has become a nationwide cause in Israel, where military service is mandatory for Jews.

There is a widespread feeling that this could happen to virtually any family.

The Schalits and their supporters have kept a protest tent outside Mr Netanyahu's official residence, and families and schools make pilgrimages to the site virtually every day to support the family.

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

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Founder: Ulugbek Yuldashev

Sector: e-commerce

Size: 600 plus

Stage: still in talks with VCs

Principal Investors: self-financed by founder

Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Kevin Hart
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Employees: 100-120

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Cycling
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Swimming
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Athletics
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Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

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Deportivo:
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Barcelona: Coutinho (6'), Messi (37', 81', 84')

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When: December 27-29, 2018

Confirmed: men: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Hyeon Chung, Karen Khachanov; women: Venus Williams

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ae, Virgin megastores or call 800 86 823

MATCH INFO

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Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

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July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

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1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Second ODI, October 25
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Third ODI, October 29
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Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.