Egypt spokesman: Cairo finalizing prisoner swap deal for release of alleged Israeli spy
Foreign Ministry spokesman says security agencies in the country will determine the number and names of Egyptian prisoners to be released in return for Israeli Ilan Grapel.
Egypt was finalizing a deal for a prisoners' swap with Israel, in which an Israeli national detained in Cairo would be exchanged for Egyptian prisoners, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Saturday.
Ilan Grapel, 27, who also holds US citizenship, has been held in Egypt since June 12. At first he was charged with espionage, but later the charges were changed to incitement, insurrection, and damaging a public building during the uprising that took place in Egypt earlier this year.
Egyptian spokesman Amr Roshdi said security agencies in the country will determine the number and names of Egyptian prisoners for the negotiations with Israel.
His statement follows media reports that Grapel was to be exchanged for 16 adults and three children held in various Israeli prisons.
The proposed deal comes after Egypt brokered an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement to swap Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
In the last two months, the U.S. has been especially active in trying to secure Grapel's release. Although U.S. officials have exerted heavy pressure on Egypt, they have been unable to secure his release thus far.