US offers Egypt increased aid for release of alleged Israeli spy

Nada Hussein Rashwan, MENA, Saturday 1 Oct 2011

Washington has called on the Egyptian authorities to release American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel, detained in Egypt for alleged links to the Israeli Mossad

One of the photos posted on Ilan Grapel's Facebook profile, as he appears in a protest in Tahrir Square.

Egyptian authorities are currently processing a US call for the release of Ilan Grapel, an American-Israeli who was arrested and detained in Egypt on allegations of spying for Israel.

US diplomacy is lobbying with the Egyptian authorities for the release of Grapel, on offers of “increasing economic support for Egypt,” according to Congressman Gary Ackerman.

The Supreme State Security Prosecution permitted on Saturday the US Consul, along with Grapel’s parents, to visit Grapel in detention. Grapel's parents pled for the release of their son on account of health concerns as they claimed he has a “hereditary disease”.

Grapel has been accused of being an agent of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency and of sowing sectarian strife and chaos in Egypt during the uprising which ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

Two days after his arrest, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman strongly denied he was a spy, insisting the accusation was a mistake and "bizarre behaviour" on the part of Egyptian authorities.

Grapel has been detained since 12 June 2011. He had served in the Israeli army and took part in the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006.

Grapel’s story caught the attention of the Egyptian public due to his regular appearances at famous landmarks and protest zones in Cairo, and through photos he had taken and posted on social media websites.

Grapel, who reportedly arrived in Egypt to work as an intern for a legal aid group, has not tried to hide his Israeli links, entering Egypt under his real name, which easily revealed his background with the Israeli military.

Grapel has said during investigation that he made "childish mistakes" and that he was attempting to "get to know more about Egyptians after the success of the Egyptian revolution."

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