Andre Pshenichnikov, the Bat Yam resident who managed to infiltrate into Egypt and was arrested on Friday, is suspected of photographing security facilities in Taba, the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Wednesday.
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The newspaper added that according to sources from southern Sinai the Israeli man did not give out any persuasive reason for his actions, and admitted only to being a member of an organization which supports the Arab people and several Palestinian organizations in the West Bank.
Pshenichnikov, 25, was arrested in Taba after entering Egypt without a passport. He was taken in for questioning on suspicion of espionage. According to reports in Egypt he entered the country through the mountainous area which borders on the Taba hotel, where he was caught.
It is further claimed that his Israeli identity was only discovered later. Chief of security in southern Sinai, General Mahmoud al-Hafnawi, told Egyptian press that a police force in Taba arrested the man due to his strange behavior.
Pschenichnikov. 'Peace Activist' (Photo: AP)
Pshenichnikov's friends in Israel rejected on Tuesday the accusations and said that "those who know Andre know that he's as far from the espionage world as anyone can be. He's anti-establishment. The moment they will understand he's an activist they will drop the charges. He's a sensitive, kind and non-violent guy."
Egypt is trying to reassert control over the Sinai which has suffered from lax security since the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that an Israeli citizen was being held in Egypt and said it was looking into the matter.
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