Israeli diplomats visit accused spy in Egypt

June 15, 2011 - 6:43 AM
Mideast Israel Egypt

FILE - In this Sunday, May 15, 2011 file photo, demonstrators burn an Israeli flag near the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt's arrest of U.S.-born Israeli Ilan Grapel Sunday, June 12, 2011 on suspicion of spying for the Mossad is providing fodder for the Arab nation's military rulers to accuse outsiders of stirring post-revolutionary turmoil in the country. (AP Photo/File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli diplomats have paid a first visit to a U.S.-born Israeli who is being held in Egypt on spying charges and they say he's in good shape, an Israeli official said Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said two members of Israel's diplomatic mission to Egypt were allowed to see Ilan Grapel on Tuesday. Embassy personnel also spoke with officials from the Egyptian prosecutor's office, he said.

Palmor provided no further details.

Grapel was arrested at a Cairo hotel on Sunday and accused of sedition and inciting Egyptians to clash with the country's military leadership.

Israeli officials say the young man — a law student in the U.S. who has made no secret of his past military service in Israel — is not a spy.

Because the 27-year-old Grapel entered Egypt with his U.S. passport, the American Embassy in Cairo is taking the lead in his case. American diplomats visited him on Monday.

Grapel, who was in Cairo working for a legal aid project, was arrested at a time when the Egyptian military is facing growing criticism of how it is running the country.

His detention resonates among many Egyptians looking for someone outside to blame for the instability, crime and economic troubles that date to the ouster of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in February.