‘Al-Ahram’: Exchange deal in works for Grapel

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Emory University law student Ilan Grapel, arrested by Egyptian secret police in June as a spy for Israel, may be released soon in exchange for 81 Egyptians imprisoned in Israel, the semi-official Al-Ahram newspaper reported Sunday.

Grapel, 27, a duel American-Israeli national, was recently also accused of committing arson against a Cairo police station. He has denied all charges.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed government source as saying the deal that Egypt helped broker to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from five years in Hamas captivity was not the only agreement under negotiation.

The Shalit exchange “will soon be followed by another deal, in which the spy Ilan Grapel…will be released in return for all Egyptians held in Israeli prisons,” the paper wrote.

The paper cited Egypt’s successful mediation in the Shalit deal “and the apologies of Israeli officials to Egypt for the martyrdom of a number of Egyptian soldiers” as paving the way to an agreement to free Grapel. Five Egyptian soldiers were killed by IDF fire in August during a firefight with terrorists who had killed eight Israelis.