Four Egyptian prisoners held in Israel were released on Monday as part of a prisoner-swap deal between the two countries, according to Egypt state-owned media.
The new releases follow the return of Israeli prison Ouda Tarabin by Egyptian authorities on Thursday. He was sent to Tel Aviv in exchange for the release of two Egyptian prisoners from Israeli jails on the same day.
News reports later said four more Egyptians were being prepared for release as part of the deal, totalling six Egyptians released. According to the Israel Prison Service website, three of those prisoners were convicted of drug-smuggling crimes.
A tweet from the official Twitter account of the Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesperson for the Arab Media, Ofir Gendelman, said that Israel had agreed to release six Egyptian prisoners. Three of them had served their prison terms, while the other three were in jail for offences not related to security issues.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter that he had worked on getting Tarabin released with three Egyptian presidents, Hosni Mubarak, Mohamed Morsi and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
“I am happy that Odeh Tarabin is back with us again. The State of Israel takes care of all its citizens without exception,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Tarabin was released after having almost completed his 15-year prison term. He was convicted of espionage after illegally crossing the Egypt-Israel border.