US urges Egypt to release Israeli spy

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Cairo: The United States has pushed pressure on Egypt to release a suspected espionage agent of twin American-Israeli nationality.

US House Foreign Affairs Committee’s member Gary Ackerman has talked with Egyptian authorities to release over Ilan Chaim Grapel’s, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

Ackerman claimed accusations against the 27-year-old Grapel were false.

“I would describe this as an understandable mistake that should be quickly remedied,” the US official said.

The suspect had reportedly emigrated from America to Israel and worked for the Israeli spy agency Mossad. He was arrested in Cairo on June 12.

He is accused of collecting information about the developments in Egypt during the country’s popular revolution, which collapsed the pro-Israeli regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Grapel is also suspected of trying to recruit young people to commit treason against Egypt during the revolution in the capital of Cairo’s protest hub of Liberation Square.

Egyptian judiciary source said, “He was there on a daily basis inciting youths towards sectarian strife. He was distributing money to some of them,” adding that he tried to provoke the potential recruits to fight the Egyptian armed forces.

Egyptian judicial sources have referred to Grapel as an intelligence officer. He has a history of enlistment with Israel’s military and fought against Lebanon during the 33-Day War in 2006.

Ackerman, however, claimed Grapel was a US law student and served as his intern in 2002.

“He is not a spy. He is a kid in college, acting like a kid in college,” the official said.

“He is a momentary distraction from what their situation and problems are.”

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