Egypt has arrested an Israeli man on suspicion of spying and of trying to recruit Egyptian youths to act against the authorities after President Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, sources and the state news agency said on Sunday.
Immediately after the reports emerged, Egyptian news agencies began to publish photos of the alleged spy, many of them taken at anti-government protests in Cairo.
But Jerusalem claimed Sunday that the reports were unreliable. "Once every month or two such a report comes out. It is a groundless report and very unfortunate that people want to maintain such a hostile and negative image of Israel," an official source from the Foreign Ministry told Ynet.
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Judge Hesham Badawi of the supreme state security prosecution ordered the man to be detained for 15 days on suspicion of "spying on Egypt with the aim of harming its economic and political interests," MENA news agency reported.
A judiciary source said the man was arrested on Sunday. MENA said the man worked for the Mossad. It named him as Ilan Goren.
Detention orders of 15 days are often renewed in Egypt if further questioning is deemed necessary.
'Spy' pictured at Cairo protest
One judiciary source said the man had been active in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt against Mubarak, after the former president stepped down.
"He was there on a daily basis inciting youths towards sectarian strife. He was distributing money to some of them," the source said, adding he had been encouraging some youths to clash with the army. He said youths reported the man's actions.
In the photos published by Egypt's news agencies, 'Ilan Goren' can be seen waving protest signs in support of the state's popular revolution and against US President Barack Obama.
Prosecution: Spy was injured in Second Lebanon War
Photos of the young man also showed him in IDF uniform, standing before the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, by the pyramids in Egypt, and speaking at King David Hotel in Israel's capital.
The prosecution said earlier that the man was arrested at a Cairo hotel after intelligence reports said he had been sent there on a mission by the Mossad. According to the reports, he served in the IDF and was even wounded in the Second Lebanon War.
The detention may add to tensions raised by a row over the halting of Egypt's gas exports to Israel after a pipeline blast and Cairo's easing of restrictions at the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, which Mubarak had kept very tightly controlled.
Officials at Egypt's Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment, and the Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of the case.
Elior Levy and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report
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