image source, Reutersimage captionEitan Biran's paternal aunt, Aya Biran (R), was granted custody by an Italian court in June

A six-year-old Israeli boy who was the sole survivor of an Italian cable car crash will stay in Israel until a court has ruled on a bitter custody dispute.

Eitan Biran's parents, brother and two great-grandparents were among 14 people killed in the accident in May.

His paternal aunt, who lives in Italy, was given guardianship by an Italian judge afterwards.

But earlier this month he was flown to Israel on a private jet by his maternal grandfather without her permission.

Israeli police then opened a kidnapping investigation and questioned the grandfather, who has insisted that his actions were legal and in Eitan's best interests.

media captionEitan was the sole survivor of the crash in May

Eitan, his brother Tom and their parents, Amit Biran and Tal Peleg, had been living in Italy for several years before the accident.

The boy was badly injured and required weeks of treatment at a hospital in Turin.

After he was discharged in June, an Italian juvenile court granted custody to his paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, an Israeli-born doctor who lives in Italy.

On 13 September, Eitan was taken out for the day by his maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, who moved from Israel to Italy after the accident and had visitation rights. He drove Eitan to neighbouring Switzerland and then flew him to Israel, using the boy's Israeli passport.

Mr Peleg told Israel's Channel 12 TV last week that Eitan was "happy and surrounded by his family" and that they had left Italy in a "totally legal way".

"He is in the place where he is supposed to be, in his home, in Israel."

image source, Reutersimage captionShmuel Peleg insists he acted legally and in his grandson's best interests

Ms Biran-Nirko disputes Mr Peleg's claims and has petitioned an Israeli family court for Eitan's return under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, an agreement that can help return an abducted child who is under 16 years old to the country they usually live in.

"At this point I am worried. I want to see him home as soon as possible," Ms Biran-Nirko told reporters outside the court in Tel Aviv on Thursday. "I am worried for Eitan."

Mr Peleg attended the hearing along with his daughter Gali, who is seeking custody of Eitan in Israel.

The BBC's Yolande Knell, who was at the court, says both Israel and Italy are signatories to the Hague Convention, but this case has unusual circumstances that make it complicated to solve.

However, lawyers for both sides of the family made a joint statement after the hearing committing to protecting the six-year-old from further trauma.

The judge will now review the case ahead of the next hearing on 8 October.

In the meantime, Eitan will remain in Israel and he will spend time with both sides of his family.