VIDEO - The arrest of the alleged Israeli spy in Egypt this week brought Azzam Azzam 15 years back. A Druze resident of the Maghar village, Azzam left Israel for Egypt in November 1996 on behalf of the Tefron textile company in order to visit the factory's production line as part of his routine visits. During his stay, he was arrested and charged with espionage by Egyptian authorities.
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According to the al-Youm al-Sabaa newspaper, the alleged Israeli spy's name is Ilan Goren. Egyptian media reports suggest he was interrogated on Monday and his remand was extended by 15 days. The Foreign Ministry claimed the reports were groundless.
Azzam recounted his experience in Egypt. "They got me to sign a blank paper and later filled in an admission whereby I spied. Sadly, any Israeli journalist or citizen detained in Egypt since the revolution will be taken for a spy. This is an attempt by the military council to please the crowds.
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"I was interrogated for eight days before I got a first visit by an Israeli representative and I am convinced this is what is happening to the citizen who was allegedly arrested. "
The State of Israel denied sending Azzam at the time, but he was nevertheless charged with espionage and consequently spent eight years in prison. "Obviously, a detainee in Egypt has far better diplomatic access than one held by Hamas or Hezbollah. Today we turn to General Mohamed Tantawi."
Azzam added that he believes that the man will be released soon, if indeed there has been an arrest. "If this is a plot, then simple diplomatic procedure will see him released in the coming days. If however he turns out to be a spy, the affair can also be handled via the proper channels."
But Azzam believes there are no Israeli spies in Egypt. "
I don't understand what the Egyptians are thinking. We have peace with them, then why the need for spies? Any Israeli can easily cross the border into Egypt and be a potential spy as far as they're concerned.
"I am confident that the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry will work together to solve the matter and won't allow him to stay in custody for long."
The Egyptian state prosecution said Sunday that the Israeli man was arrested in a Cairo hotel after intelligence services received information suggesting he was sent to Egypt by the Mossad to recruit assets, collect information and monitor the revolution.
It was also stated that the man was known to spend time in protest centers and had incited the demonstrators to stir riots. According to Egyptian intelligence, the man served in the IDF and fought in the Second Lebanon War.
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