Egyptian state TV said the Israeli national had arrived in Egypt shortly after the start of the January 25 uprising

Egypt's official MENA news agency says authorities have arrested an Israeli national on charges of working for the Israeli spy agency, Mossad.

Judge Hesham Badawi of the supreme state security prosecution ordered the man's detention for 15 days pending investigations into alleged "spying on Egypt with the aim of damaging its economic and political interests", MENA said on Sunday.

MENA named the suspect as Ilan Chaim Grabel and said he was arrested at his hotel in central Cairo.

Egyptian state television said the "Mossad officer" had arrived in Egypt shortly after the start of the January 25 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the country's long-time president, seeking to "incite chaos and sectarian strife".

Egypt's intelligence services had suspected the man - "who was posing as a foreign correspondent" covering anti-government protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square [Liberation] Square - of spying, and monitored his movements and phone calls before his arrest, MENA said.

Israel's foreign ministry said it was unaware of any reports of Israeli citizens being detained in Egypt.

Israeli commentators said reports that an Israeli citizen had been arrested for spying for the Mossad in Cairo seemed strange.

"I can't imagine that there will be any Israeli reactions, but anyone who knows even a little bit about these things knows that you don't have an Israeli with an Israeli passport sitting in a foreign capital collecting things," Ehud Yaari, a Channel 2 news analyst, said.

Last year Egypt, which signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, said the confessions of an Egyptian accused of spying for Israel had led to three alleged espionage cells being dismantled in Lebanon and Syria.

Sunday's arrest may add to tensions raised by a row over the halting of Egypt's natural gas exports to Israel after a pipeline blast and Egypt's easing of restrictions at a Gaza border crossing that Mubarak had kept very tightly controlled.

Egypt resumed pumping gas on Friday.

Source: Agencies