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The mayor of a haredi city who was detained on Sunday and held for questioning by police is set to appear at a hearing on Monday at which police are expected to request a ten-day extension of his remand.

The incidents in connection with which the mayor has been detained occurred some thirty years ago, and involved the Shuvu Banim sect which used to operate a “Modesty Patrol” – some of its former members are now under arrest in connection with one murder and another suspected murder. One body, that of Avi Edri, was discovered; that of Nissim Shitrit was never found.

According to a report on Channel 13 News, the mayor is suspected of having served as a “decoy girl.” According to Channel 13’s reporter, Ariella Sternbach, the involvement of the mayor is “especially interesting given that he allegedly served as a decoy girl who was involved in the murder of Avi Edri.

“As early as 2017,” Sternbach continued, “the mayor’s possible involvement was known. When [convicted criminal and Shuvu Banim head Eliezer] Berland entered a plea bargain due to his own crimes, a former follower of his sent a letter to the police, in which he detailed the entire series of events leading up to the murder of Edri which he claimed to have heard first-hand from one of the people who has now been arrested in connection with that crime.

“In that letter, the writer also mentioned the name of this mayor and described him as of a youthful and girlish appearance. He was then a minor, and the former follower described how he put on a wig in order to entice Edri and lead him to the suspects in the case who were the ones who carried out the murder.”

According to Sternbach, however, the mayor “was not personally involved in the murder and in fact did not know where his actions would lead to.”

In a statement to media, the mayor’s lawyer, Ariel Etri, said, “The mayor has no connection whatsoever with this very serious case, and he has no idea how or why his name has become involved in this shocking story. He is no more connected to this incident than he was to the murder of Arlozorov.”

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