Conflict & Justice

Egypt to release suspected Israeli spy this week?


Egyptians burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on August 19, 2011 after Egyptian policemen were killed on the border with Israel the day before as Israeli troops pursued militants behind a deadly attack.



Remember the case of the dual American/Israeli citizen detained in Egypt on charges of spying for Mossad?

Egyptian authorities are planning to release the alleged spy, 27-year-old Ilan Chaim Grapel, perhaps as early as Tuesday, according to reports.

The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported this weekend that Grapel’s release has been timed to take place during an upcoming visit to Egypt by the U.S. secretary of defense, Leon Panetta.

Panetta is due to arrive in Cairo for meetings with Egypt's transitional military leadership on Tuesday.

Al-Hayat quoted a senior Egyptian official who said that Egypt may seek compensation from the U.S. in exchange Grapel’s release, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper:

The official added that Egypt understands that Grapel was not involved in serious espionage, and they are interested in profiting from the fruits of his release, which will be compensated with generous U.S. economic incentives.

On Saturday, Egyptian state media hinted that Washington had offered financial incentives for Grapel’s release.

"Cairo is considering the release of Ilan Grapel, a US citizen accused of spying for Israel during the 25 January revolution, especially after promises from the US of offering more political and economic support in return," said Egypt’s official MENA news on Saturday, according to Agence France-Presse.

Grapel was detained by authorities in Cairo on June 12 under suspicion that he was spying for Mossad "with the aim of harming [Egypt’s] economic and political interests."

Grapel’s mother told GlobalPost at the time that her son, a law student at Emory University in Atlanta, traveled to Cairo in May for a summer internship.