Report: Egypt Will Release Accused Israeli Spy Within a Week

Egyptian newspaper reports that Israeli and U.S. representatives met with Ilan Grapel and told him that negotiations to free him had been concluded, but Egyptian prosecutors have not closed the case.

Egyptian security sources told the Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm that a lawyer and representatives of the Israeli and U.S. embassies met on Tuesday with Ilan Grapel, the Israeli held in Egypt on suspicion of espionage, and told him that his release had been secured and would take place within a week.

According to the report, the American representative calmed Grapel down and clarified that the embassy had taken steps to assure that he will not be charged or have to go to court.

Ilan Grapel Tahrir

An Egyptian legal official, however, told the paper that the prosecutors have not received word about any deal to release Grapel, and are planning to charge Grapel in the country's High Court for State Security.

The newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat reported that the deal to free Grapel will take place at the Taba-Eilat border crossing, and that Israel will simultaneously free the 81 Egyptian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails. The report added that unlike the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, this exchange would take place far from the prying eyes of the media.

At this point in time, the report said, it is not known if the prisoner exchange will include another Israeli citizen imprisoned in Egypt since 2000 on charges of spying for Israel, Ouda Tarabin.

Ilan Grapel, who holds both Israeli and American citizenships, 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.

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.