Negotiations for the release of Ilan Grapel, an American-Israeli law student who has been detained in Egypt for more than five months, have reached an advanced stage, "informed sources," told Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm.
Israel, for its part, has agreed to release 81 Egyptians serving sentences in Israeli prisons.
Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Mohammed Assem said, according to Al Masry Al Youm,
that the Grapel case, coupled with the Hamas-Israeli deal for the release of Gilad Schalit which was mediated by Cairo, the Israeli Defense Ministry's official apology to Egypt over the deaths of six of its security forces on the Sinai border, and the deployment of Egyptian troops in the Taba area - near the Israeli border - were all part of Egypt's secretive diplomatic efforts.
Assem noted that Egyptian public's response to the Grapel deal may be unpredictable in Egypt's present state, characterized by "revolutionary anger" following the deposition of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.