Egypt Steps Up Charges Against Suspected Israel Spy

Al-Ahram daily reports Egyptian court extends Ilan Grapel's remand by 45 days; Egypt seeks release of 78 Egyptian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for alleged spy.

Egypt’s State Security Prosecutor has added additional criminal offenses against alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, including inciting damage to public property.

According to a report in Egypt’s Al-Ahram daily on Tuesday, Grapel was brought before a prosecution representative who informed Grapel of the latest allegations, and read to him a series of testimonies which claimed that he incited violence against a police station during the Egyptian uprising earlier this year.

Ilan Grapel Tahrir

Egypt, the Al-Ahram report said, is seeking the release of 78 Egyptian prisoners being held in Israeli jails in return for Grapel.

The timing of the report comes as a surprise, considering recent reports claiming that Grapel will be released as a result of Israeli and American pressure. Grapel has not yet been served an indictment, despite being under custody since June. Furthermore, his remand was recently extended by 45 days.

Egypt has accused Grapel, 27, of being a Mossad agent — a claim Israel denies. And his detention since June has escalated criticism of Egypt's military, which took over rule of the country after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who visited Egypt last week, urged Egyptian leaders to release Grapel, but ultimately could not secure his release.

Panetta said the U.S. has expressed concern about his treatment, and continued detention. Panetta said he is confident that the interim military leadership in Egypt will "deal with that fairly," but he did not indicate that he won any specific promise for Grapel's release.

Grapel is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who said he was working for a Cairo legal aid project when he was arrested. Published reports have suggested that he is ill and that Egypt's government was responding to appeals for his release.