Israeli 'Spy' Traded for 25 Egyptian Prisoners

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel will free 25 Egyptian prisoners in exchange for Ilan Grapel, an American-born Israeli who has been imprisoned for four months in Egypt on alleged espionage charges.

A statement issued Tuesday by the Prime Minister's office said a deal had been reached, with the assistance of the U.S., to release 25 Egyptian prisoners, including three minors, none of whom were security prisoners.

Grapel's father thanked the prime minister for securing his son's release, telling Army Radio on Tuesday he is "very happy and excited."

"I have been waiting for this day, which should have come much sooner, but was delayed because of unrelated issues," his father said.

Egyptian police arrested Grapel in Cairo last June, accusing him of being an agent for the Mossad, Israel's secret service. Grapel denied the charges.

Last January, Grapel took part in anti-government protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square, making him suspect in the government's eyes.

A third-year student at Emory University Law School in Atlanta, Ga., Grapel said he came to Cairo in June to take part in a summer intern program with a legal aid group.

Grapel immigrated to Israel in 2005, enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier - someone with no immediate family in the country. He was wounded in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

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