According to an Egyptian diplomat, the discovery of the spy ring would not affect cooperation between Egypt and Israel on Middle East peace.
Speaking to Al-Ahram Online, the diplomat, who served in the Egyptian embassy in Israel, insisted that political consultation and cooperation between Egypt and Israel "is handled through a different channel" than that which deals with cases of espionage.
This is not the first and will not be the last case, according to an official source familiar with the history of Israeli spying over Egypt.
Since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, Egyptian authorities have unearthed "dozens and dozens" of rings of Israeli spying on Egypt – mostly on national economic interests and science and technology developments.
"They collect information about our trade relations, scientific cooperation with other countries and so on," the official source explained. This, he added, does not exclude the "regular" political and military attempts at espionage.
The public announcement of the unearthing of the spy ring comes days after the release of an Israeli book that once again implicates a dead Egyptian presidential official from the years of former President Anwar Sadat in alleged espionage on behalf of Israel.
Written in Hebrew by Israeli political science professor Yori Bar Yosef, "The Angel: Ashraf Marwan, the Mossad and the Surprise of the Yom Kippur War" alleges that Marwan, the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s son-in-law, provided Mossad with credible information about Egyptian-Syrian plans for the 1973 war, shortly ahead of the beginning of the military operation on the 6th of October.
The new book attempts to refute the "double agent" account that had been suggested by former MI chief Maj. Gen. Eli Zeira. Zeira had argued that Marwan gained the trust of Mossad by offering accurate classified information for several years, before he started to mislead Israel.
Egypt had categorically denied this allegation against Marwan from the highest level. Upon his mysterious death – he fell to his death from the balcony of his London home – President Hosni Mubarak said that Marwan had served his national immensely.
Marwan’s cause of death has never been established with Mossad and other elements accused for fear that he would reveal sensitive information during his "double agent days" in memoirs he was writing, the manuscript of which disappeared on the day of his death.