Israeli Foreign Minister: Grapel is Not a Spy

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 4:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Israel's foreign minister says a U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt Sunday is not a spy.

Avigdor Lieberman said on Israeli military radio Tuesday that American-born Ilan Grapel had no ties with Israeli or American intelligence services, no matter how “strange” or “careless” his behavior.

The U.S. says a consular officer visited Grapel in prison Monday after he was arrested Sunday and ordered to be detained for 15 days.

Friends and family of Grapel say he is a 27-year-old American-Israeli who was interning for a non-profit organization in Egypt. They say he is an American law student who speaks Arabic and has an avid interest in the Middle East.

Egyptian authorities say the suspect entered Cairo around January 25 and had posed as a foreign correspondent.

The Egyptians allege Grapel is an officer with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency and had encouraged youths to clash with the Egyptian military during the protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square that led to the ouster of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.