JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt has extended its detention of Ilan Grapel, the dual U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt on spying charges.
Grapel’s remand was extended over the weekend by 15 days, according to reports in the Egyptian and Israeli media.
Egyptian security forces reportedly were continuing their interrogation of Grapel as part of an investigation into accusations that he was spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.
Grapel, who is Jewish, is being interrogated without the assistance of an interpreter because he speaks fluent Arabic, the Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Youm reported last week, when he faced his eighth interrogation since being arrested two weeks ago at his hotel in central Cairo for allegedly spying on Egypt.
Egyptian security officials said he entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, during which Grapel allegedly posed as a foreign correspondent.
A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.
Grapel denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere. Friends of Grapel’s told The Jerusalem Post that Grapel was an Arabist and liked spending time in Egypt.
Originally from New York, Grapel moved to Israel after his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, joined the army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in southern Lebanon in August 2006.
Grapel spoke with his family for nearly an hour last week, and reportedly told them that he was arrested legally and that he has not been harmed. He also them he is getting everything he needs.