(photo credit: Channel 10 News)
Israel is pursuing a prisoner exchange for accused Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, the
Egyptian newspaper Al- Akhbar reported on Sunday.
The report said Israel
has offered to release three Egyptians recently arrested in Israel in exchange
for the 27-year-old American-Israeli dual citizen, who was arrested by Egyptian
state security officers at his downtown Cairo hotel last Sunday for allegedly
spying for Israeli intelligence.
US Rep. Ackerman insists Grapel is no Israeli spy
'Grapel spoke Arabic, prayed, supported Egypt uprising'
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry
would not comment on the report, but said that Israel “is doing what it can in
order to help Grapel, and get him out of Egypt.”
He added that Israeli
authorities have no ironclad assessment of when this will take place. He also
confirmed that officials from the Israeli Embassy in Cairo visited Grapel last
Also on Sunday, Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm posted on its
website a video reportedly released by Egyptian state security that purports to
show Grapel as he is under surveillance by security officers.
video, which includes a dramatic instrumental soundtrack, Grapel can be seen
briefly standing outside what the paper says is the Azbakiya police station in
Cairo during a violent incident in June in which a microbus driver allegedly
died after being tortured by police. The rest of the video posted on the site
shows pictures of Grapel which he posted on his Facebook page, including ones
from his IDF service.
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Egyptian newspaper Al- Ahram reported on Thursday
that Grapel could face an indictment this week.
The report added that
Grapel had confessed to working for the Mossad to foment sectarian strife and
“penetrate” political groups in Egypt for intelligence reports he sent back to
The same article claimed that Grapel wrote that he was a Muslim
on the visa application he filled out at the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and
that he made his way into meetings of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Egyptian
parties in order to gather intelligence.
The New York native and Emory
University law student went to Cairo this summer while working for a non-profit
organization that helps African refugees. His family, friends, and the Israeli
government have all denied that he was working as an espionage agent in
Most notably, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio
last Tuesday that Grapel “is a student, maybe a bit strange or irresponsible;
but he has no connection to any intelligence service; not Israeli or American
and not on Mars.”
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