News reports Sunday said Egypt and Israel have made a deal to release alleged Israeli spy Ouda Tarabin on Wednesday in exchange for 63 Egyptian prisoners held in Israel.
Tarabin has been imprisoned in Egypt since 2000 on accusations of spying for Israel.
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency said Sunday that Egyptian prisoner Moussa al-Attrash’s brother, Abdel Fattah, received a phone call from Moussa, who told him that officials at the prison had visited them on Saturday and informed them they would be released in a prisoner swap deal that will take place Wednesday.
Egyptian authorities arrested Tarabin after he crossed the Israeli-Egyptian border. He claimed he was visiting a relative.
An Egyptian military source spoke on condition of anonymity to Ma’an saying Egypt struck the deal with Israel to swap prisoners, but that it’s not yet clear if Egypt will extradite Tarabin via Cairo or Taba airport.
Once the news was reported, according to the Israel’s military radio station, Knesset member Ayoub Kara visited Tarabin’s family and demanded they show skepticism toward the news and not make statements to the media about the issue.
Israeli radio also said that Kara and another Knesset member, Israel Hasson, participated in talks with Egypt over the deal.
The Israeli Walla news website reported that the Egyptian prisoners’ families were promised by Egyptian officials that their relatives will be released on 25 April in exchange for Tarabin.
Ma’an quoted an Egyptian security source as saying that talks took place between Egyptian and Israeli officials last week in Cairo and that they agreed to release Tarabin in exchange for Egyptian prisoners.
News reports last week said Egyptian prisoners had started a hunger strike because they were not released in exchange for alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, who was detained by Egypt in November and later exchanged for 25 Egyptian prisoners in Israel.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm