Ilan Grapel, the American-Israeli who has been held by Egyptian authorities since June on alleged espionage charges, will soon face new charges, Cairo's Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Egypt’s Higher State Security Prosecution (HSSP) is reportedly planning to charge Grapel with incitement and the attempted arson of an Egyptian Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January's riots in the Egyptian capital.
- Egyptian official admits: Grapel no spy
According to the report, the prosecution is basing its new accusations on eyewitness accounts.
Grapel was arrested in June and charged with operating in Egypt as a Mossad spy – an allegation denied by Israel.
Grapel’s family and friends maintain that the charges are bogus and that the 27-year-old was travelling through Egypt as part of a volunteer group.
Grapel's latest remand hearing – according to Al-Ahram – took place in mid September, when the Cairo court ordered he be remanded for an additional 45 days.
Meanwhile, uncorroborated reports have suggested that Egypt was demanding a prisoner exchange for Grapel. According to JTA, Cairo wants Israel to release dozens of Egyptians held in Israeli prisons in return Grapel's release.
Al-Ahram noted that there are currently 78 Egyptian prisoners held by Israel, mostly for infiltrating the border.
Neither Egypt nor Israel have confirmed these reports.
Last week, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Egypt and expressed concern over Grapel's detention.
According to the Egyptian news service MENA, Egypt expressed interest in the possibility of releasing Grapel in exchange for additional aid and political support by Washington.
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