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Mexican Man Confesses to Murder of WZO Emissary

A Mexican man has confessed to last week’s murder of a World Zionist Organization emissary in Mexico City.

Jose Hill Hernandes Sanchez turned himself in to Mexican police Monday night, and reconstructed his murder of Shlomo Biran, calling it a “crime of passion.”

Hernandes, who was the superintendent of the building where Biran lived, told police that he went to Biran’s apartment on July 6 “once again to fix pipes, which had been improperly repaired the day before.” When Biran complained about his sloppy work, Sanchez said, he struck him on the head with a wrench. Hernandes said that after falling to the ground, Biran got up, intending to fight.

During interrogation, Hernandes admitted that he strangled Biran to death with a cord he found in the apartment. Hernandes said that after the murder, he left the apartment, locked the door, and told the building’s security guard that he was leaving his job as superintendent and would not return.

He told police that he took Biran’s keys and money from the apartment.

Biran, 59, had worked for a year as a music teacher at the Magen David school for WZO’s Department of Education and Culture in the Diaspora.

He was scheduled to leave Mexico for a vacation last Friday and was supposed to arrive in Israel on Saturday. But when he failed to arrive, another WZO emissary went to Biran’s apartment and noticed a strong odor. The police entered the apartment Sunday and found Biran’s body.

During his time in Mexico City, Biran’s family — his wife, Yael; a 27-year-old son, Tzlil; and two daughters, Shiri, 23, and Inbal, 21 — remained in Israel.

Biran’s body was due to arrive in Israel Tuesday night for burial the next day.

This is the second murder of a WZO-Jewish Agency for Israel emissary this year.

In March, Shimon Feingold, a 49-year-old married father of two, was killed during a fight with drunken neighbors in Kiev, Ukraine. Feingold was serving a two-year stint, representing the Youth Department of the Jewish Agency.

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