Egypt media: Swap for alleged Israeli spy is close

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 8:34 AM
Egypt media: Swap for alleged Israeli spy is close

Egypt's state media reports that authorities are putting the final touches on a swap to release a suspected Israeli spy in exchange for 19 Egyptians held in Israel prisons.

The U.S.-born Ilan Grapel was arrested in Cairo on June 12 and has been held without charge. The 27-year-old was accused by Egyptian officials of spying for Israel during the height of Egypt's uprising earlier this year. Israel denies Grapel is a spy, saying he worked for a Cairo legal aid project.

The state news agency MENA said Saturday a deal is being worked out to free Grapel in exchange for 16 Egyptians serving sentences in Israel, as well as three minors held in detention.

U.S Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had urged Egypt's military rulers to release Grapel during a visit to Egypt earlier this month.