Monday, October 24, 2011

srael, Egypt reach swap deal to release suspected Israeli spy Ilan Grapel



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Israel and Egypt reached a prisoner exchange deal that would secure the release of suspected Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, the Prime Minister's Office said on Monday. The cabinet is set to meet on Tuesday to give the deal a final seal of approval.

rapel was first charged with espionage, but the charges were later changed to incitement, insurrection, and damaging a public building during the uprising that took place in Egypt earlier this year.

Ilan Grapel, who holds both Israeli and American citizenships, has been held in Egypt since June 12.

The U.S. has been especially active in trying to secure Grapel's release during the last two months. Although U.S. officials had exerted heavy pressure on Egypt, they were unable to secure his release.

In a statement published by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, Israel and Egypt reached a deal to release the suspected spy, saying that Grapel is to be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, including three minors.

The PM's office added that the deal was reached as a result of U.S. mediation, and that none of the prisoners to be released were convicted of security offences.

The proposed deal comes after Egypt brokered an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement to swap Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

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