Egypt's security echelon has been keeping track of a university student arrested under charges of passing information to Mossad agents, since 2002, the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday.

Mohammed al-Attar, the report said, left Egypt in 2001 to live in Turkey. He admitted to leaving because he was unable to integrate into the Egyptian society by his third year as a student at Al-Azhar University. He chose Turkey both because of the relative lenience found in receiving a tourist's visa and its proximity to Europe.

Al-Attar told his interrogators that upon arriving in Turkey, he requested to be sheltered by United Nations workers in Ankara on the basis of humanitarian needs, saying that he hoped to emigrate to a western country.

While in Turkey, the Egyptian met a man named Daniel Levi, who helped him seek refuge from the UN after he told him of his troubles.

According to the report, Levi was in fact a Mossad agent who "brought Attar into" the Mossad circle and had instructed the Egyptian how to gather intelligence on Egyptian citizens and other Arabs in Turkey.

Attar was asked to photograph his subjects and write reports detailing their financial statuses. The information about the men was to be used to see whether they were suitable as Mossad agents themselves, the report said.

The Egyptian suspect, who allegedly received funds for his research, managed to bring down several Egyptian citizens and citizens of other Arab countries, by means of "women and money."

Later on, the Mossad decided to send Attar to Canada, Al Hayat said, where he met another Mossad agent, Kemal Kosba. Kosba had arranged for Attar to work in a fast food restaurant where he could continue gathering information on Egyptians and other Arabs in Canada.

A third Mossad agent who had allegedly employed Attar, Tuncay Bubay, told him not to deposit the money he had received from the agents directly into his bank account so that it could not be traced.

In Toronto, Bubay organized a workplace for Attar that was close to the city's central mosque. Working at a bank, Attar was ordered to follow up on bank accounts belonging to Egyptian and Arab clients.

All of the men Attar had studied until this point were being checked for their suitability as agents in the Mossad, said the report.

An Egyptian investigation into the events uncovered that Attar had obtained Canadian citizenship and flown home for a month to visit his family in November.

Bubay ordered Attar to go to Israel following his homeland visit and make contact with him in order to receive a new task. Egyptian security said that they discovered an instruction sheet sent via the Internet detailing how to get to Israel from Egypt through Jordan.

According to Al Hayat, Egyptian intelligence had known about Attar's planned visit and was stopped by authorities at Cairo's international airport on January 1.