Families of Egyptian prisoners protest against Israel swap deal

Families of Egyptian prisoners in Israel have staged a demonstration before the North Sinai Security Directorate, protesting against a deal made recently by the Foreign Ministry, swapping the alleged Israeli spy, Ilan Grapel, with only 28 out of 81 Egyptians detained in Israeli prisons.

“We will call for a million-man demonstration in Tahrir Square to press the government to act to release all Egyptians in prison in Israel,” said Mahmoud Saeed, head of the Egyptian Campaign to Release Egyptian Prisoners.

Egyptian state TV said that Egypt will swap Grapel for 28 Egyptians currently in prison in Israel. However, on Monday, the Israeli government said that it had finalized arrangements for the prisoner swap, but put the number or prisoners at just 25.

"Egypt has agreed to release Ilan Grapel, and at Egypt's request Israel has agreed to free 25 Egyptian prisoners," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

Grapel, who has been in custody since 12 June, is accused of being an agent of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency and of sowing sectarian strife and chaos in Egypt during the uprising which ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Khaled Arafat, founder of the Karama Party in Sinai, considered the deal an insult. “The Palestinians swapped Shalit with 1027 prisoners and we [Egyptians] are satisfied with 28 prisoners,” he said.

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