Egypt detains Israeli army officer in Sinai

CAIRO Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:48pm EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have detained an Israeli army officer in the Taba region of the Sinai peninsula after he snuck through a border crossing and took photographs of security property and talked to drivers, security sources said.

"The Israeli officer was arrested by national security forces on December 29. State security is now interrogating him," a national state security officer told Reuters.

The state news agency MENA said the arrested man is a Tel Aviv resident of Russian origin named Andrea Chetekov. He was not carrying a passport when he entered Sinai and his name was not on tourist arrival lists, MENA said.

State television earlier reported the arrested man was a former army officer named Andre Yacoub and had entered Egypt illegally.

Security sources in Sinai said the 24-year-old, a resident of Tel Aviv, had been gathering information about Sinai from drivers in the area near the Taba border crossing between Egypt and Israel. The officer was taken to the Nuweiba area in Sinai, where he was being questioned, the sources said.

Egypt is trying to reassert control over the Sinai which has suffered from lax security since the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

(Reporting by Yousri Mohamed and Marwa Awad; Writing by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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