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Monday, 14 October 2019

Alleged Israeli spy is not flying out of Egypt with US Defence Secretary

Egypt considers release of alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, but reports that the infamous 'Tahrir square provacateur' is leaving Cairo with US Defence Secretary are exaggerated, officials say

Dina Ezzat, Tuesday 4 Oct 2011
Grapel
Ilan Grapel in Tahrir square (Photo: Reuters)
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Two Egyptian officials said this morning that the visit of US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta to Cairo should allow for the discussion of a deal over the possible release of Ilan Grapel, the US-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt a few months ago on espionage charges.

"We are willing to let him go in return for something but the matter is still being discussed," said an Egyptian official who asked for anonymity. The official said that reports suggesting Panetta would take Grapel "home" with him at the end of his visit are "exaggerated."

The possible release of Grapel, the same official said, "would need time." He declined to share a possible date for the release and argued that a deal is not yet done. 

According to another official, the release of Grapel could take place "before the end of this month" provided that a deal is reached. Both officials said that what Egypt wants in return for Grapel is "not at all" the blind radical cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, who has been imprisoned in the US since 1993 for terror charges. "This is a joke," said one of the officials.  

What Egypt wants in return, they both said, is related to bigger political issues, including US annual aid to Egypt – both economic and military.  

According to one official, "Egypt does not like the new tone of conditionality that seems to be floated in relation to the US aid to Egypt and we clearly wants this language removed."

Both officials said Cairo is keen to clear the air with Washington and Tel Aviv in the wake of tension that has been escalating since the attack on the Israeli embassy last month and the consequent eviction of all Israeli diplomats except one.  

"We are not picking a fight – neither with Israel nor with the US; we want to keep relations non-problematic but this does not mean we are not following the file of the Egyptian guard soldiers who were killed by Israel (during a raid on bordering Gaza)," said an Egyptian diplomat.  

Meanwhile, a security source confirmed Israeli press reports suggesting the resumption of negotiations over the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners. He said, however, that hopes should not be exaggerated over the conclusion of a deal soon.

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murad ali shaikh
05-10-2011 02:24am
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Release of prisoners.
Sir, there should be a fair exchange -- Omar Abdel-Rehman who is languishing in solitary prison cells for so many years must be brought home, then the US prisoner should be released to the US custody. US should also pay damages to Abdel-Rehman for his sufferings and torture and humiliation in prison. Abdel-Rehman is a respected Scholar of Islam and his trial was on trumped and fictitious charges to make happy the dictator Mubarak.
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Sandvik
04-10-2011 11:19pm
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Grapel
What makes you so sure he is a spy?
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karim Hari
04-10-2011 04:54pm
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what revolution
Nice Revolution. You release him. So every potential Zionist Spy and Destabilizer knows at least from now on, that there isn`t even the glimpse of a risk to conspire in egypt. well done
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