Daily Israel Report

Grapel to be Freed in Swap for 25 Egyptian Prisoners

Israeli-American citizen Ilan Grapel is to be freed in a swap with Cairo for 25 Egyptian prisoners, the Prime Minister's Office says.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/24/2011, 8:10 PM

Ilan Grapel
Ilan Grapel
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Egypt has agreed to free Israeli-U.S. citizen Ilan Grapel, held prisoner in Cairo since June.

The dual national is to be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, including three minors, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Monday night.

None of the inmates to be released are security prisoners, the PMO confirmed.

The deal must first be approved by the Security Cabinet, which will meet Tuesday morning.

Grapel, described as an ardent Zionist who also loves Arabic culture, has said he believes peace is possible between Israelis and Arabs.

The third-year law student had traveled to Cairo on a grant from his university to work during the summer months, but was arrested by Egyptian officials on suspicion of spying for Israel.

Although this is not the first time Egypt has reportedly agreed to a swap, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, told Arutz Sheva Monday night that this time "it's real."

However, Regev declined to give specific details about when Grapel might be released.

Nor would he offer any information about whether Negev Bedouin shepherd Ouda Tarabin, who has been held prisoner in Egypt for the past 11 years, would be freed as well.

Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, MK Ayoub Kara (Likud), has worked non-stop trying to secure Tarabin's release as part of any deal to free Grapel.