Egypt accuses American-Israeli of being Mossad spy

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

Egypt this week arrested a man who holds dual American-Israeli citizenship on charges of being an Israeli spy.

According to Egyptian media, Ilan Grapel was sent to Egypt by the Israeli Mossad in order to spy on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Christian groups and the ruling military regime.

An Egyptian judge has ordered that Grapel be detained until an investigation can be carried out.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman vehemently denied the claim that Grapel is a spy. "He has no connection to any intelligence apparatus, not in Israel, not in the US and not on Mars," said Lieberman.

The US Embassy in Cairo on Monday said it is doing all it can to help Grapel, but indicated that he is ultimately at the mercy of the Egyptian regime.

Grapel is a 27-year-old resident of Queens, New York. He came to Israel in 2005 to serve in the IDF, and was lightly wounded during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Despite his voluntary service in the IDF, Grapel has been described by friends as "dovish" when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict. In fact, he has a deep love of Arab culture, and is reportedly fluent in Arabic.

Grapel traveled to Egypt during the revolution against the regime of former dictator Hosni Mubarak and subsequently volunteered with an American relief organization there, according to his father.

There is concern in Israel that Grapel could be used by the ruling military regime in Cairo to appease growing popular demands that Egypt sever peaceful ties with Israel.

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