Egypt, Israel Agree to Prisoner Swap Deal

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt and Israel have agreed to swap 25 Egyptian prisoners in Israeli custody for an Israeli-American whom Egypt has held since June on suspicion of spying.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and Egyptian officials confirmed the deal Monday.

Israel has said U.S.-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel is not a spy and has no ties with Israeli or American intelligence services.

The 27-year-old Grapel was interning for a non-profit organization in Egypt. Friends and family say he is an American law student who speaks Arabic and has an avid interest in the Middle East.

The Egyptians alleged Grapel was an officer with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency and had encouraged youths to clash with the Egyptian military during the protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square that led to the ouster of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian authorities said Grapel entered Cairo around January 25 and had posed as a foreign correspondent.