'Grapel may be freed same day as Schalit'

American-Israeli alleged spy reportedly to be swapped for all 81 Egyptians imprisoned in Israel, possibly through Taba border crossing.

By OREN KESSLER
October 17, 2011 14:26
1 minute read.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News)

Ilan Grapel could be released as early as Tuesday, according to Egyptian security sources privy to negotiations to free the 27-year-old law student Cairo suspects of spying for Israel.

According to Israeli media reports, Grapel may be released at the Taba border crossing separating Egypt and Israel near Eilat. The alleged spy will reportedly be released in exchange for all 81 Egyptians currently held in Israeli prisons.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
'Cairo wary of Egyptian public's response to Grapel deal'


Israel's ambassador to Egypt Yitzhak Levanon told Army Radio on Monday, "I can only hope that, just as we released Gilad Schalit from his captivity, we will release all the rest."

Grapel, a dual American-Israeli citizen, is a New Yorker who moved to Israel after graduating from Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University. He later joined the Israel Defense Forces and served as a paratrooper in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, in which he was wounded in southern Lebanon. Grapel is currently enrolled as a law student at Atlanta's Emory University,

Egypt said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the late-January uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak within weeks. Egyptian authorities say that in applying for a visa at the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv (an application he filed with his US passport), Grapel identified himself as a Muslim. Detained in June, Grapel was later charged with espionage, incitement and the attempted arson of the Interior Ministry and police headquarters.

Israeli authorities, as well as Grapel's friends and family, vehemently deny he is a spy, maintaining that he traveled to Egypt to experience the country's pro-democracy revolution and to intern for a nongovernmental organization that helps African refugees.

In June US Rep. Gary Ackerman - for whom Grapel interned in 2002 - described the law student as "very liberal" and someone who "wants to help people in Egypt."



"This is like no good deed goes unpunished,” Ackerman told The Jerusalem Post. “He’s the most unlikely spy anybody could ever imagine."


Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN