Israel, Egypt to swap prisoners

October 25th, 2011 - 9:03 am ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Oct 25 (IANS) Israel and Egypt have agreed on a deal for the exchange of a suspected Israeli spy with 25 Egyptians, the Israeli prime minister’s office said.

Egyptian security forces arrested a 27-year-old Israeli national Ilan Grapel in June, and charged him with “spying on Egypt with the aim of harming its economic and political interests”.

Grapel is a student at Emory University in Atlanta, US, and was on a visit to Egypt at the beginning of the year, Xinhua reported.

The Israeli foreign ministry has strongly denied the accusations. “He is not a spy, that is completely false,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Xinhua.

Grapel, a US-born citizen who emigrated to Israel in 2005, served in the Israel Defence Forces.

An Egyptian spokesman said last week his country would choose the number and names of Egyptian prisoners they wanted released, and forward them to Israel.

“At Egypt’s request, Israel agreed to free 25 Egyptians, including three minors,” the Israeli statement read.

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