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The English-language editor of the Palestinian news agency Maan was denied entry into Israel on Tuesday and is being held at Ben-Gurion Airport pending deportation, Maan reported Thursday.

Jared Malsin, an American journalist who is editor in chief of Maan in English, was detained at the airport "for security reasons" upon returning from vacation abroad. After an eight-hour interrogation, he was placed in custody, Maan said, and was later told he would be deported on Thursday. He sought an injunction against his deportation, and the Tel Aviv District Court will hear the case on Sunday.

"We have no idea why he's being detained and why they decided to deport him," Maan attorney Castro Daoud said.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said: "Mr. Malsin is not staying in Israel on a journalist's visa and the team that questioned him had no idea he was a journalist. He returned to Israel with his girlfriend. Both of them are registered ... as having been here illegally several times."

Interrogation transcripts obtained by Maan indicate that Malsin may have been deemed a security risk due to stories he wrote criticizing Israel.

Security agents also said he "claimed to be Jewish" and "exploited his Jewishness to gain entry" into Israel. Their grounds for detaining him included "lying to border officials," "here illegally" and "entered Israel by means of lies," Maan said.