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Police have detained the Chief Rabbi of city in the north on suspicion that he sexually assaulted and harassed three employees of the city's religious council.

The 73-year-old rabbi, who is also suspected of assaulting two women who came to the council offices for guidance, has denied all charges against him.

Police suspect the rabbi assaulted the employees over a number of years, with the allegations only coming to light after an alleged victim complained to police, leading officers to a series of other women who reported being assaulted.

Police reported the investigation is ongoing and that due to the old age of the suspect, if convicted he will probably be sentenced to house arrest.