Egypt, Israel close to detainee swap deal

Egyptian officials are finalizing a deal in which they will free the US-Israeli dual national Ilan Grapel, who was detained in June on spying charges, for Egyptian prisoners held in Israel, state news agency MENA said on Saturday.

"MENA has learned that the final touches are currently being made to a deal to swap the Israeli Ilan Grapel, accused of spying on Egypt for Israel, for about 16 Egyptian prisoners and three detained children," it reported.
However, state TV said on Saturday that 28 Egyptian prisoners would be granted freedom in the deal.
Last week, the media reported that Egypt was considering swapping Grapel for 81 Egyptians detained in Israel over charges such as illegal entry to Israel, drug trafficking and arms possession.
Prosecutors said that Grapel, 27, was a Mossad agent. He was accused of sedition and inciting Egyptians to clash with the country's interim military leadership after the overthrown of former president Hosni Mubarak, an ally of both the US and Israel.
Grapel was also accused of trying to recruit agents and monitor events in Egypt following the revolution.
Israel said that Grapel, who has not yet faced trial, was in Egypt working for a legal aid project when he was arrested.
This month US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called on Egypt to release Grapel, but denied involvement in direct negotiations over the matter.

Related Articles

Back to top button