Egypt, Israel Near Agreement on Prisoner Swap

Posted October 22nd, 2011 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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Egypt and Israel are close to an agreement on a prisoner swap that would result in the release of Ilan Grapel, an Israel-American who has been detained in Egypt since June.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency said Saturday that officials with both countries were putting the “final touches” on a plan for Grapel to be freed in exchange for about 16 Egyptian prisoners and three children held in Israel.

Other Middle East news organizations say a larger number of Egyptians could be freed.

Egyptian authorities have charged Grapel of spying for Israel. They have accused him of working for Israel's Mossad spy agency — a charge Israel has denied.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for Grapel's freedom during a meeting with Egyptian leaders in Cairo.