THE mayor of Ayia Napa has blamed tourists for turning the town into an "open-air club" following the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old British girl.
A group of 12 Israeli teens have been accused of attacking the teen on Wednesday at a hotel where she was staying in the Cyprus party town.
11 Ayia Napa is popular with young Brits who go abroad to party (file image)
11 Twelve Israeli teens have appeared in court accused of gang-raping a 19-year-old Brit woman in Ayia NapaCredit: EPA
11 Mayor of Ayia Napa Yiannis Karousos says tourists have turned the town into an 'open-air club'Credit: yianniskarousos.com
And Yiannis Karousos appeared to blame the attack on holidaymakers turning Ayia Napa into a boozy mecca.
He said he was saddened by the alleged victim's ordeal and said the town had stepped up its police patrols every year.
But he suggested the issue partly lies with the conditions “that we have allowed to transpire within our tourism which have led us to this point”.
Millions of tourists flock to the party destination every summer, most with the aim of binge drinking and partying.
The area has become rife with drugs and gangs, with the alleged rape the most recent in a spate of crimes against Brits in the town.
The woman told police that the large group held her down while taking videos on their mobile phones and laughing, according to Ynet News.
SCRATCHES ON HER LIMBS
Court documents reveal the victim had "scratches on her lower limbs" as a result of the trauma.
But today, speaking through their lawyer, the group claim the accuser is lying, and was prompted to report the false incident by another Brit.
And they said police broke their noses at the Ayia Napa Hotel, Pambos Napa Rocks, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Their lawyers told the Jerusalem Post: "The police hit us, they broke our noses, and the girl is lying.
"Help us, get us out of here, you'll see we're right and that we're innocent."
Twelve Israeli teens appear in court in Cyprus accused of gang-raping Briton in Ayia Napa hotel
The woman is reported to have met a member of the group three days before to the incident.
She reportedly agreed to go into the hotel room at around 3.30am with one of the males.
But she claims once she got inside, 11 other teens entered the room and raped her.
The Times of Israel reports some or all of those being quizzed by cops are 16 or 17 years old and three of those arrested have since admitted to having sex with the girl.
But the men claim it took place with "with love and consent".
Three of the suspects were bought to the Famagusta Court, in Paralimni, today with the other nine arriving an hour later.
BRITS TURN ON ISRAELI GROUP
Reports suggest that as news spread of the woman's ordeal, Brit tourists turned on other members of the Israeli group who they believed to be involved.
The two parties had previously become friends prior to the attack.
Cops in Ayia Napa and neighbouring Paralimni arrested the tourists at 6am on Wednesday, it is understood.
A member of the group was able to translate for the others due to them only speaking limited English.
One of the boys' mothers told news channel Keshet 12 that he was unable to understand what Greek police were saying to him.
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Israel's Foreign Office said it was aware of the case and in contact with those arrested.
The ministry said: “The Israeli consul in Nicosia, Yossi Wurmbrand, is following developments and is in contact with the detainees. Their families have been updated."
The court hearing was kept private due to members of the group being minors and the judge determined that they will now remain in custody for a further eight days, according to the Cyprus Mail.
The alleged victim is said to be having medical treatment.
11 A police officer guards the suspects as they cover their faces inside a police vehicle to take them to a detention centreCredit: AP:Associated Press
11 The suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni townCredit: AP:Associated Press
11 Suspects leave the Famagusta courthouseCredit: AP:Associated Press
11 Twelve male Israeli tourists appear before Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, CyprusCredit: EPA
11 The group claim the police left them with broken noses during the arrestCredit: EPA
11 The attack took place at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel, in Aiya Napa
11 The holiday destination attracts thousands of Brits every yearCredit: AP:Associated Press
11 Ayia Napa is a popular holiday destination with BritsCredit: Wikipedia / Vitaly Lischenko / CC BY SA