Foreign Ministry Seeks Release of Israeli Jailed in Egypt

Ministry officials said it was not yet clear why the Israeli had been in Suez in the first place, calling the matter particularly sensitive.

The Foreign Ministry was working intensively Thursday to secure the release of an Israeli who had been arrested by Egyptian security forces in the city of Suez during anti-government demonstrations there.

Ministry officials said it was not yet clear why the Israeli, who is reportedly an engineer, had been in Suez in the first place. The ministry has called the matter particularly sensitive and said it was working on a number of tracks to see him freed from detention as quickly as possible.

Protests in Suez - Reuters - Jan. 28, 2010

The ministry advised all Israelis to leave Egypt at once of their own accord, saying that a number of tourists were still known to be in the country. The ministry also said that it was maintaining close contact with all journalists when possible and had advised them to stay out of conflict with security forces there.

The Foreign Ministry had similarly intervened Wednesday for the release of three Israeli journalists and a tour guide.

The four were nabbed after entering Egypt as tourists without obtaining Egyptian press credentials or the necessary approval from the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv. They were arrested while filming and broadcasting news reports. Some members of the group were accused of violating curfew orders.

Three of the freed detainees are from the Channel 2 investigative-news show "360": reporter Yifat Glick, a photographer and the guide they hired. The fourth was a journalist from an Israeli Arabic-language website.

The four are not the first Israeli journalists detained since the unrest began in Egypt. Channel 10 reporter Moav Vardi, who has a foreign passport, was arrested overnight between Sunday and Monday while filming in Cairo.

A source at Channel 10 said he was arrested and taken to a police station after it was clear he was from Israel. He was released after several hours.

In recent days a number of journalists have been arrested while covering the demonstrations.