Israel and Egypt have finalized an agreement to release 25 Egyptian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for an Israeli-American citizen, Ilan Grapelli, held in Cairo for espionage, officials said Monday evening of Israeli and Egyptian official sources.
"Egypt has agreed to release Ilan Grapelli and at the request of Egypt, Israel agreed to release 25 Egyptian prisoners," according to a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The statement said the Egyptian prisoners for release, including three minors are not detained for security reasons.
The agreement must still get the green light from the Israeli security cabinet will meet Tuesday, the statement said.In principle, the approval of the security cabinet is expected to be a formality.
Egyptian state television had previously announced the agreement.
"A final agreement was reached to release the Israeli spy Ilan Grapelli against 25 Egyptian prisoners, including three children," said the Egyptian public channel.
According to the official news agency Mena, the exchange must take place "in the next two days."
The Egyptians had three minors were arrested after entering Israel illegally to sell cigarettes, according to the Egyptian press.
Grapelli Ilan, an Israeli-American 27 years, was arrested June 12 in Cairo and accused of spying for the Jewish state.
Two days after his arrest, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman had denied Ilan Grapelli will be engaged in espionage activities.
"I can say categorically that this student, who may have had a bizarre and irresponsible, has no connection with Israeli intelligence, American or moon", said Mr.Lieberman.
The Egyptian government media had presented the young man as an "officer of the Mossad," the Israeli intelligence services, who came "to spy in Egypt in order to undermine the economic and political interests of the country."
According to Egyptian media, Ilan Grapelli arrived in Egypt shortly after January 25, the start of the revolt that brought down the President Hosni Mubarak, to "incite chaos and sectarian strife."
The Mena had then claimed that "posing as a foreign correspondent" covering the protests against the regime.
The announcement comes just days after the release by Israel of a contingent of 477 Palestinian prisoners as part of an exchange agreement against the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive in Gaza for more than five years.
Under the agreement reached under Egyptian mediation between Israel and Hamas, endorsed 11 October by the Israeli government, a second group of 550 Palestinian prisoners must be released within two months.