Friends of Andre Pshenichnikov, 24, the Israeli national who was arrested on Friday in the Sinai Peninsula, defended him Tuesday, saying he is neither a spy nor a terrorist, "Just a peace activist."
Pshenichnikov, a far left-wing activist from the city of Bat Yam, was remanded on Tuesday for an additional 15 days. According to some reports, the young Israeli wanted to reach Gaza Strip in order to fight alongside Palestinian militants.
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Several sources said Pshenichnikov took photos of security facilities and talked to Bedouins in the area, who notified the Egyptian security services and led to his arrest.
Sources in Egypt said that Pshenichnikov entered the Sinai Peninsula via one of the border crossings in order to perform "a dangerous mission for one of the Israeli security services."
Ezra, a friend of Pshenichnikov, told Ynet: "Those who know Andre know that he's as far from the espionage world as anyone can be. He's anti-establishment." He accused the Egyptians of seeking to use his friend as a bargaining chip, adding that the claims of espionage was "ridiculous."
"Andre is a sensitive, kind and non-violent guy," he siad, adding, "I hope the State will help him even though he's a leftist."
Dima, another friend, described what a kind man Pshenichnikov is: "When he saw that someone hurt a dog he spent two days trying to save it and find it a new home. A spy? For whom? I really don't know why he went to Egypt, but he is not a violent man, he is a man of peace."
Svetlana, Pshenichnikov's mother, added: "He's an idealist, he stand for his own opinions and has nothing to do with Hamas or the Shin Bet." She said that her son "only wanted to meet friends who talk about peace between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo."
The Foreign Ministry said that the ministry "is checking the circumstances of the arrest and is in contact with the relevant authorities in Egypt."
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