Egypt Frees Israeli Held for Spying in Prisoner Swap

CAIRO/YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets Uda Tarrabin in Jerusalem December 10, 2015. Egypt has freed Tarrabin, an Israeli-Arab held in its jails for 15 years on espionage charges in exchange for the release of two Egyptians held in Israel, Egyptian and Israeli officials said on Thursday. REUTERS/Haim Zach/Handout via GPO     ISRAEL OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ISRAEL      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) meets Uda Tarrabin in Yerushalayim on Thursday. Egypt freed Tarrabin, an Israeli-Arab held in its jails for 15 years on espionage charges in exchange for the release of two Egyptians held in Israel. (Reuters/Haim Zach/Handout via GPO)

Egypt has freed an Israeli-Arab held in its jails for 15 years on espionage charges in exchange for the release of two Egyptians held in Israel, Egyptian and Israeli officials said on Thursday.

Uda Tarrabin, originally from a tribe in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, on the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip, had been convicted of spying for Israel and had completed his term, Egyptian security sources and state media said.

The Israeli government said Tarrabin was already back in Israel.

“At the same time, Israel released two Egyptian prisoners who were held in Israel and had finished serving their sentences,” it said in a statement.

Neither Israeli nor Egyptian officials would comment on the identity of the Egyptian prisoners.