Egypt's top prosecutor Nabil Sadek has ordered an urgent investigation into a recent report by the New York Times alleging that it obtained recordings of phone calls where an alleged Egyptian intelligence officer is heard instructing talk show hosts to convince their audience to accept Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The prosecution said on Tuesday that the report "undermines Egypt's security and public peace, and harms the country's public interest."
A day after the report was published, Egypt's State Information Service (SIS) condemned it as "inappropriate," saying it failed to offer its readers "the slightest evidence" to support its claims.
The calls purportedly show the alleged intelligence officer instructing a number of TV show hosts – as well as a prominent actress – to persuade their viewers to accept US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the city last December.
The report – titled ‘Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move’ – identifies the alleged intelligence officer as Captain Ashraf El-Kholy, who appears in the tapes to contact TV hosts Mofid Fawzy, Azmi Megahed, Saeed Hassaseen and popular actress Yousra.
Yousra said she would seek legal action against the paper, while Megahed has denied knowing anyone by the name Ashraf El-Kholy.
Egypt has long maintained its support for the establishing of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Shortly after Trump announced his Jerusalem decision, Egypt presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Councilthat would have required the US president to revoke the decision. The resolution was vetoed by the US.