A raid on a residential complex in Jerusalem has uncovered a "cult"-like group where dozens of women and children were being held against their will – including some girls who had their fingers placed into fires to “make them understand what hell is,” Israeli police say.
The operation, which was carried out in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood Monday, resulted in the arrests of the alleged ringleader and his eight female accomplices. They are suspected of isolating some 50 women in the complex, along with children ranging in age from 1-5, and keeping them out of contact with their families and the outside world.
“At this stage, Israel Police along with additional investigating bodies, are focused on providing an initial response to the treatment of the minors as well as investigating the conditions of the residential complex,” it said in a statement. “All of the suspects that were taken into custody are being investigated on suspicion of possession of slavery.”
The arrests coincided with Israeli police releasing footage of the compound's interior crammed with closely spaced triple-decker bunk beds. It was operating under the guise of a women's seminary, they added, with Superintendent Isaac Simon saying the victims were held in “very cramped conditions and difficult sanitary conditions.”

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