Monday, June 20, 2011

Report: Israel offers prisoner exchange for alleged spy in Egypt

Desmond Shephard

Elan Grappel
CAIRO: In what appears to be a new twist in the case of an alleged Israeli spy arrested in Egypt last week, the Israeli government has offered a prisoner exchange for Elan Grappel’s release, al-Akhbar reported.

The report said that officials in Jerusalem have offered to release three Egyptians held in Israeli prison in return for the Grappel, who was arrested and accused of spying for the Jewish state.

Despite the newspaper’s report, Bikya Masr could not verify the information and no Israeli newspaper has reported a similar offer.

The report added that the Egyptian prisoners are serving sentences in Israeli jails for various convictions, and the Egyptian authorities are considering Israel’s offer.

The Israeli government has denied any knowledge of the person the Egyptian authorities are saying is a Mossad spy arrested in Egypt on Sunday over suspicions of spying and recruiting young Egyptians to move against the military rulers of the country.

Jerusalem Post quoted a Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem saying the ministry was “totally and completely unfamiliar with the story,” and was looking into the matter, after first hearing about it in the media.

Last Monday, Judge Hesham Badawi of the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the suspect detained for 15 days on suspicion of “spying on Egypt with the aim of harming its economic and political interests,” the MENA news agency reported.

According to daily Israeli newspaper Ynetnews, American officials in Egypt have visited Grappel in detention.

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