Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak defended on Monday the patriotism of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser's son-in-law, who Israeli intelligence officials say warned Israel of an imminent Egyptian attack in 1973.
Mubarak told reporters that former official Ashraf Marwan, who died in London last week after falling from his balcony, had not spied for any organisation.
Mubarak, quoted by the Egyptian state news agency MENA on Monday, said Marwan, who left Egyptian government service late in the 1970s, was "a patriot loyal to his nation".
"I do not doubt at all the patriotism of Dr Ashraf Marwan, and I knew the details of what he was doing to serve his nation," Mubarak told reporters on his way back from an African summit in Accra.
"He carried out patriotic acts which it is not time yet to reveal, but he was indeed a patriotic Egyptian and was not a spy for any organisation at all," Mubarak added.
Former officials of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad have said Marwan was the Egyptian who told them that Egypt and Syria were about to attack Israeli forces in October 1973.
Gad Shimron, a former Mossad officer who is now a historian, said Mossad suspected Marwan was a double agent and Israel decided not to order a general mobilisation.
Mubarak said no one had known when the war would start other than former President Anwar Sadat and a few military leaders.
The Times of London had reported that Marwan, who was married to Abdel Nasser's daughter Mona, had feared for his life because of the spying allegations which surfaced three years ago, but said there was also speculation that he may have committed suicide after he learnt he was seriously ill.
Egyptian state media reported that Marwan, who worked as a senior information official for both Abdel Nasser and Sadat, "lost his balance" before he fell from his balcony and died. British police said they were treating the death as "unexplained" but not suspicious.