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'US never put pressure on Egypt to release Grapel'

August 30, 2011 10:27

'Al-Ahram': Cairo and Jerusalem not in talks over prisoner-swap deal, to include Sinai Beduin, for the release of the accused Israeli spy.

Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit:Channel 10 News)

The US has not been putting pressure on Egypt to release the accused Israeli spy, Ilan Grapel, Egyptian semi-official Al-Ahram quoted an "Egyptian security official" as saying on Tuesday.

On Monday, Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said that the US had threatened to reduce aid to Egypt unless Cairo released the alleged Israeli spy, a dual US-Israeli citizen who was arrested in Egypt in June on charges of espionage for the Mossad.

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'US to reduce Egypt aid unless accused spy Grapel freed'
'Egypt ambassador: No developments in Grapel case'

also said that Cairo and Jerusalem never discussed formulating a prisoner-swap deal for securing Grapel's release, which the report claimed would involve freeing a number of Egyptian Beduin from Sinai serving "long sentences in Israeli prisons."

According to the source Cairo informed both Washington and Jerusalem that "Grapel is in the hands of the Egyptian judiciary."

Earlier in the month, Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Yasser Rida said there had been no new developments in Grapel’s case, Israel Radio reported.

Grapel, the ambassador said at a UAL-Ta’al Iftar dinner, is in “good hands,” according to the report. The case, he added, is currently in the Egyptian legal system, and said he trusts it to properly deal with the matter.

Rida also told Israel Radio on Monday there have been no new developments.

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.

The Emory University Law student, and dual Israeli- American citizen, traveled to Egypt this summer as part of his work for a charity helping African refugees.

His family, friends and the Israeli government have categorically denied he was working as a spy in Egypt.

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