Egyptian president denies former senior official was Israeli spy

Published July 2nd, 2007 - 10:31 GMT

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak defended on Monday the patriotism of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser's son-in-law, who Israeli intelligence sources claim he warned Israel of an imminent Egyptian and Syrian attack in October 1973.


Mubarak told reporters that former official Dr. Ashraf Marwan, who died in London last week after falling from his balcony, had not spied for any organization. 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. "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.


Mubarak said no one had known when the war would begin other than former President Anwar Sadat and a few military chiefs.


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 claims which surfaced three years ago in Israel. A few years ago, Israel's Haaretz newspaper said that in 1969 Marwan walked into the Israeli embassy in London and volunteered to furnish information. The offer was turned down.


Some time later, he again offered his services, and after a thorough inquiry, it was decided to recruit him. Marwan is considered the highest-ranking agent who was then in the employ of Israel's intelligence community, and his work was highly compartmentalized. His information was considered particularly credible, even after it was cross-referenced with data from other sources.


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.



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