'Accused Mossad spy could face charges in 1 week'

'Al-Ahram' claims Ilan Grapel confessed to working for Mossad to foment Egypt unrest, recruit citizens to help him in his espionage campaign.

June 16, 2011 22:33
2 minute read.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News)


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Ilan Grapel, the Israeli-American citizen accused by Egyptian authorities of spying for Israel, could face indictment next week, Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported Thursday.

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.

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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.

On Sunday, 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 agency.

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.

The New 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 release.

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.

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