Egypt will reportedly release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
Grapel, who Egypt accuses of being a spy, will be released in exchange for 81 Egyptians being held in Israel on charges such as trying to illegally cross into the country, murder, drug trafficking, illegal residency and holding unlicensed weapons, according to the Egyptian newspaper Ahram. Three of the Egyptians held in Israel are under the age of 14, Ahram reported.
Grapel has not yet been indicted, and his detention was extended recently by 45 days.
Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent.
A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.
Grapel denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere.
Grapel is a New Yorker who moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He joined the Israeli army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.
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