Cairo: Egypt and Israel are adding the "final
touches" to a deal to swap an Israel-American detained in
Cairo for a group of Egyptian prisoners and children.
"MENA has learned that the final touches are currently
being made for a deal to swap Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, accused
of spying on Egypt for Israel, for about 16 Egyptian prisoners
and three detained children," MENA reported.
State-owned Nile Television, meanwhile, said it had
received "reports" of an impending swap, but said that 28
Egyptians would be released, including the three children.
The caretaker cabinet tasked the foreign ministry on
Thursday to oversee the exchange, two days after Israel freed
hundreds of Palestinians for an Israeli soldier held by the
Palestinian movement Hamas in an Egyptian-mediated swap.
Grapel, who has been in custody since June 12, is accused
of being an agent of Israel`s Mossad intelligence agency and
of sowing sectarian strife and chaos in Egypt during the
uprising which ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.
Egyptian media published photographs of Grapel after his
arrest in Cairo`s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the
uprising, inside a mosque and in a downtown Cairo bar.
Pictures taken from his Facebook account showed him in
Israeli military uniform.
Grapel served in the military like most Israelis as a
conscript and was wounded in its 2006 war with the Lebanese
militant group Hezbollah.
Israel has strongly denied Egypt`s accusations, insisting
the whole thing was a mistake and accusing Egyptian
authorities of "bizarre behaviour."
Last week, unnamed Israel officials told public radio that
a deal was in the works to release a US-Israeli joint national
held in a Cairo prison in exchange for 81 Egyptians held in