|Photo by: Channel 10 News|
'US consul in Egypt tells Grapel he is in big trouble'
By BEN HARTMAN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
'Al-Ahram' report comes after previous report saying accused Mossad spy could face charges in 1 week after he allegedly confessed to being a spy.
The US consul in Cairo met with alleged Mossad spy Ilan Grapel, who was arrested in Egypt last week, and told him he was "in big trouble," Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported Friday.
According to the report, Grapel asked during his stay in Egypt to extend his visa, and wrote on the application that he is a Muslim who came to Cairo to study.
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On Thursday, Al-Ahram reported that Grapel, an Israeli-American citizen, could face indictment next week over accusations by Egypt that he was spying for Israel.
According to the newspaper, Grapel confessed to
charges that he was working for the Mossad to foment unrest in Egypt and recruit
Egyptian citizens to help him in his espionage campaign. The paper added that
Grapel confessed to sending his Mossad handlers intelligence reports on a daily
basis from Internet cafes in the Egyptian capital.
If true, the reports
would run contrary to the conventional wisdom expressed in recent days by senior
Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, that the 27-year-old American- Israeli will be released in
the coming days.
The same Al-Ahram report also stated that Grapel claimed
to be Muslim on the visa application that he submitted at the Egyptian consulate
in Tel Aviv.
In addition, he tried to gain intelligence on Egyptian
popular opinion of the Hamas-Fatah unity deal and “penetrated” meetings of the
Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties, Al- Ahram reported.
Grapel was arrested at his downtown Cairo hotel by state security officers and
taken before Judge Hesham Badawi of the Supreme State Security Prosecution who
ordered him detained for 15 days on charges of “spying on Egypt with the aim of
harming its economic and political interests,” according to the MENA news
State Department officials have managed to visit Grapel, and his
mother Irene Grapel said this week that she has spoken to her son and that he is
in good health.
Grapel was in Cairo working for a nonprofit organization
helping African refugees.
His family, friends and the Israeli government
have all denied he had any involvement with Israeli intelligence.
York native, who is currently enrolled as a law student at Emory University,
served as a paratrooper in the IDF during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, where he
was injured in combat.
On Tuesday, Lieberman told Army Radio that Grapel
is nothing more than an innocent student, and Israel is hoping for his imminent
Lieberman added that Grapel is “maybe a bit strange or
irresponsible; but he has no connection to any intelligence service – not
Israeli or American, and not on Mars.”
Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon
contributed to this report.