Ilan Grapel, the Jewish American citizen detained in Egypt under suspicion of espionage for Israel, declared he was Muslim in order to get a visa, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported Thursday.
According to the report, Egypt security forces claim that Grapel, who holds both American and Israeli passports, tried to collect information on the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo, and Grapel may face trial as early as next week.
The report states that Grapel identified himself as Muslim when he requested a visa for Egypt at the Egyptian consulate in Tel Aviv.
The newspaper also claims that Grapel is a Mossad agent who tried to recruit Egyptians and spark a conflict between the Egyptian people and the army.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement last Sunday reacting to Grapel's detention, saying that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo "is providing Ilan Grapel, an arrested U.S. citizen, with the same assistance it provides to all U.S. citizens arrested overseas."
The statement said that consular officers have already visited him and the embassy will be in contact with local Egyptian authorities to ensure that he is "being treated fairly under local law". Grapel will be provided with information about the legal system, and will be allowed communication with family and friends in the U.S.
Grapel met with an American consular officer in Cairo on Monday to check on him and put him in touch with family members in the United States.
The Foreign Ministry said that Grapel entered Egypt using his American passport, and therefore Egyptian authorities initially contacted the American Embassy in Cairo and not the Israeli Embassy.
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