Italian authorities have launched an investigation after a boy who was the only survivor of a cable car crash was taken to Israel by his grandfather.
His family members were among the 14 people who were killed.
Eitan’s relatives in Italy claim the child was flown to Israel without their permission, following his release from a Turin hospital where he received weeks of treatment for critical injuries.
Italian juvenile court officials had ruled that he could live with a paternal aunt, Aya Biran, near Pavia in northern Italy – a decision that was reportedly challenged by the boy’s maternal family.
Ms Biran, who is a doctor with her own children, said the boy’s maternal grandfather took the child on an agreed day visit and then flew him to Israel without her permission.
She said when the grandfather came to pick up the boy on Saturday morning he had agreed to bring him back by dinner.
When they failed to return she reported the matter to police.
Eitan was due to have follow-up medical visits this week and had been undergoing physical therapy and psychotherapy, she said.
“His bed is empty, his toys and clothes were left behind,” she said.
“His new desk, school backpack, notebooks, pencil case and books were ready [for his first day in class on Monday].”
Gali Peleg, a sister of Eitan’s late mother, denied the allegations, telling Israel’s 103 FM radio station: “We did not abduct Eitan. We will not use that word. What happened is that we brought Eitan home.”
She refused to disclose where the boy was staying in Israel and claimed he had “screamed from excitement” and declared “I’m finally in Israel” when he arrived.
“Everything we did was only for the good of the boy,” she said.
Ms Biran told reporters she was “certain and full of hope” that Israeli and Italian authorities will work together “to ensure his return home” to Italy.
Or Nirko, a paternal uncle, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that the mother’s side of the family had the boy’s Israeli passport and had broken a court order by failing to give it to his paternal relatives by 30 August.