Egyptian court extended for 15 days the custody of Ilan Grapel, a US-Israeli citizen suspected of espionage on behalf of Israel, Egyptian news agency MENA said on Saturday.
Grapel was arrested on June 12 in Cairo on suspicion of espionage. He is accused of “the subversive activity, aimed at damaging Egypt’s economic and political interests.”
His remand was expected to expire on Monday.
The suspect, fluent in Arabic, believed to make attempts to instigate the clashes between the opposition activists and Egyptian police during the mass protests at the Tahrir square in January, MENA quoted Egyptian Security Services’ officials as saying.
Grapel was also noticed near the building of the Egyptian television when there were protests of Egyptian Christians. He introduced himself as a foreign journalist, covering the unrests.
On June 14, two days after Grapel’s arrest, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied that the man was a spy.
In an interview with Israeli army’s official radio station, IDF radio, Lieberman then said that “this is a student with no connection to the Israeli intelligence establishment. This is a mistake. The Egyptians have received all the clarifications and I hope the story will end soon.”
Egypt was the first Arab state that signed a Peace Treaty with Israel in 1979.