'Egypt mulling release of alleged Mossad spy Ilan Grapel'

Cairo considering granting freedom to dual US-Israeli citizen in exchange for increased US political, economic support, AFP reports.

October 1, 2011 19:11
1 minute read.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News)

Egypt is considering granting the release of Ilan Grapel, a dual US-Israeli citizen arrested in June on suspicion of being a Mossad spy, AFP reported on Saturday, citing the Egyptian media.

"Cairo is considering the release of Ilan Grapel, a US citizen accused of spying for Israel during the 25 January revolution, especially after promises from the US of offering more political and economic support in return," AFP quoted Egypt's official news agency as saying.

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According to the report, Grapel's parents were allowed to visit him on Saturday for the first time, along with US consul-general to Egypt, Robert Powers.

Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported earlier on Saturday that US Congressman Gary Ackerman had called for the release of Grapel in exchange for more aid to Egypt.

Grapel interned for Ackerman, whose office is near his home in Queens, in the summer of 2002.

He later served in the IDF and was wounded in the second Lebanon War, an incident that was well publicized.

The congressman described his former intern as “very liberal” and someone who “wants to help people in Egypt,” during an interview with The Jerusalem Post in June. He said he was in the country to help refugees from nearby African countries who had fled to Egypt.

“This is like no good deed goes unpunished,” Ackerman said. “He did some things that are frankly foolish... but a spy – give me a break!”

An Egyptian court ruled to extend the remand of Grapel by 45 additional days on September 14, Egyptian daily Al Ahram reported.

Grapel was arrested at his downtown Cairo hotel by Egyptian state security officers in June on suspicion of working for Israeli intelligence to foment sectarian strife and gather intelligence on post-revolution Egypt.

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