'US to reduce Egypt aid unless accused spy Grapel freed'

'Al-Masry al-Youm' report suggests that Israel behind move in bid to pressure Egypt to reduce demands following soldiers' deaths.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 29, 2011 15:28
1 minute read.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News)

 
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The US increased pressure on Egypt by threatening to reduce aid to to the country unless Cairo released accused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel who was arrested in June, according to Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm on Monday.

The paper quoted Egyptian security expert Hamdi Bekheit as saying Israel was behind the move by the US in a bid to pressure Egypt to reduce its demands regarding an incident in which five Egyptian soldiers were killed following terror attacks ten days ago near the border with Sinai.

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Earlier in the month, Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Yasser Rida said there had been no new developments in Grapel’s case, Israel Radio reported.

Grapel, the ambassador said at a UAL-Ta’al Iftar dinner, is in “good hands,” according to the report. The case, he added, is currently in the Egyptian legal system, and said he trusts it to properly deal with the matter.

Rida also told Israel Radio on Monday there have been no new developments.

Grapel was arrested at his downtown Cairo hotel by Egyptian state security officers in June on suspicion of working for Israeli intelligence to foment sectarian strife and gather intelligence on post-revolution Egypt.

The Emory University Law student, and dual Israeli- American citizen, traveled to Egypt this summer as part of his work for a charity helping African refugees.

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His family, friends and the Israeli government have categorically denied he was working as a spy in Egypt.

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