ALL roads in the search for who is behind the incendiary film Innocence of Muslims lead to a Coptic Christian in California.

As befitting the conspiracy-wracked Middle East, reports suggest it was the work of Sam Bacile, purportedly an Israeli Jewish writer and director.

Jewish donors were also said to have stumped up some of the supposedly $5 million it took to make the low-budget production. However, theories implicating Israeli and Jewish involvement proved unfounded, a point made by Israel's Foreign Minister Yigal Palmor.

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Speaking of Bacile, Mr Palmor said: "He didn't do it for us or through any channel connected to Israeli institutions. He's a loose cannon."

The man now in the frame is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who has confirmed he managed and provided logistics for the video. Nakoula, a Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes, denies being Bacile.

His involvement has added to evidence that members of Egypt's Coptic diaspora, who complain of persecution by Egypt's Muslim majority, were behind the video. The group are said to have links in the US to conservative Christian groups.

Whether intentional or not, the release of the film comes as sectarian tensions rise across the Middle East in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, and the fallout could contribute to an escalation in violence between Muslims and Christians.