'Israel gives Egypt list of prisoners for Grapel exchange'

Egypt's ambassador to Israel gives Cairo list of 81 Egyptian prisoners to be released in deal for Ilan Grapel, according to 'Al-Youm Al-Sabeh.'

October 22, 2011 06:42
1 minute read.
Ilan Grapel in an interview to Channel 10 in 2006

Ilan Grapel_311. (photo credit: Channel 10 News)


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Israel gave Egypt a list of 81 Egyptian prisoners held in Israel to be released in exchange for Ilan Grapel, according to Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabeh, Army Radio reported early Saturday morning.

According to the report, Egyptian ambassador to Israel Yasser Reda, who was appointed as an intermediary between the parties, provided the list to the Egyptian Foreign Office.

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Grapel's release will reportedly take place soon, as part of an additional stage of the deal for Gilad Schalit's release, who returned home on Tuesday after more than five years of captivity in Gaza under Hamas.

Egypt said on Thursday it was preparing to swap US-Israeli dual national Ilan Grapel, who was detained in June on spying charges, for Egyptian prisoners held in Israel.

Grapel, 27, was arrested in Egypt on accusations he was a spy out to recruit agents and monitor events in the revolt that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak, an ally of both the United States and Israel. Grapel has not faced trial yet.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called on Egypt this month to release Grapel but denied he was involved in direct negotiations over the matter.

"In response to the demands of the families of Egyptian prisoners held in Israel, the cabinet has decided that the Foreign Ministry coordinate with all the concerned security entities to take the necessary steps to return those prisoners to their homeland," cabinet spokesman Mohamed Hegazy said.

"This includes the exchange of the accused Ilan Grapel with those prisoners and taking the necessary legal steps involved."

Grapel's mother said at the time of his arrest that her son, a law student in the United States, was working for Saint Andrew's Refugee Services, a non-governmental organization, in Cairo.

Grapel emigrated to Israel in 2005 from New York and served in the IDF during the 2006 Lebanon War.

Over the years, Egypt has arrested a number of people accused of spying for Israel.

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