US denies sale of F-16 jet to Egypt in Grapel deal

Ma'an news agency report: US participated in negotiations, worked to sweeten deal over dual US-Israeli citizen Grapel, held on spying charges.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 27, 2011 22:08
1 minute read.
F-16 fighter jet in flight

F-16 Fighter Jet 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The US on Thursday denied reports that they agreed to sell an F-16 fighter plane to Egypt in connection with the release of Ilan Grapel.

“There is no truth to [these] press reports," a US statement read. "Since 1982, the US government has sold over 220 F16s to Egypt as part of our long standing bilateral defense relationship,” the statement continued.

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Palestinian Ma'an news agency on Thursday quoted Egyptian military expert General Sameh Sayf al-Yazal as saying that the United States was called into the negotiations to help Egypt exact the best possible deal for Grapel's release.

According to the report, Israel refused to release all 81 Egyptian prisoners in Israel for a deal that included both Grapel and Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli Beduin who, like Grapel, is being held in Egypt on spying charges.

Grapel is expected to be released on Thursday after five months in prison in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners. He is expected to fly from Cairo to Ben Gurion airport at 5 p.m., and meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem before setting on his way.

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