Lebanon expected to return imprisoned Israeli

Arab-Israeli Ahmed Jamal Daif to be released after accidentally swimming into Lebanese waters.

Israel-Lebanon border 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Karamallah Daher)
Israel-Lebanon border 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Karamallah Daher)
Lebanon will return to Israel on Thursday Ahmed Jamal Daif, an Israeli citizen from Ara who accidentally swam into Lebanese water in September, the International Red Cross confirmed Wednesday.
Lebanese security forces detained and questioned Daif when he swam across the Israeli-Lebanese maritime boundary.
Daif was scheduled to return via the Rosh Hanikra crossing. Foreign Ministry officials confirmed that Daif would be released.
Speaking with Israel-Arab news portal Ashams, Daif’s mother confirmed the news, saying with certainty Lebanon would release her son on Thursday, and expressed hope that Israeli security would not detain him for questioning.
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) spoke with the family, Ashams reported, welcoming the news.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry officials confirmed that a ministry delegation from the Middle East department traveled to Cairo for bilateral discussions.
The officials denied, however, a report on the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram’s website saying the purpose of the visit was to discuss a prisoner exchange for the release of Ouda Tarabin, the Israeli imprisoned on spy charges for 12 years.
Last year, during negotiations that led to the eventual release of American-Israeli Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, there were attempts – that proved fruitless – to include Tarabin in the deal. Tarabin is a Beduin shepherd arrested after illegally entering Egypt.
One official noted that every time an Israeli delegation visited Cairo – not an unusual occurrence – the Egyptian press reported it, while Israel tried to keep the visits quiet.
Officials said that with the Egyptian presidential elections scheduled to occur in another two months, it seemed unlikely that the ruling military council would approve this move now out of concern that the Egyptian public would view it negatively.
According to the al-Ahram report, Israeli and Egyptian officials were discussing the release of Tarabin in exchange for 63 prisoners.