JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt reportedly has extended by 45 more days its detention of Ilan Grapel, the dual U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt on spying charges.
The remand of Grapel, 27, who was arrested in June on suspicion of being a member of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, was reported Wednesday by the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo reportedly requested that Grapel be free on bail for the duration of the investigation, which has lasted three months, but was denied after Egyptian prosecutors said Grapel posed a flight risk.
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.
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 told The Jerusalem Post that Grapel was an Arabist and liked spending time in Egypt.