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LIVE BLOG: Ilan Grapel is Released

Keep up with the latest reports from the Middle East and right here in Bayside on the day of Ilan Grapel's release from prison in Egypt.

3:15p.m. "I'll be happy when he's in this country," said a woman greeting patients in Grapel's father's .

2:17p.m. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu reportedly tells Grapel the same thing he told the captive soldier Gilad Shalit upon his release last week; "It's good that you're home."

1:47p.m. Rep. Gary Ackerman's office sends this update;

Congressman Ackerman, joined by Ilan’s mother Irene, met Grapel on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport. They will soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Details on his arrival back to New York will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.

12:59p.m. Grapel lands safely in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, reports The Jerusalem Post.

12:56p.m. A close friend of Grapel's tells Patch, "I'm so happy. I'm like exploiding right now."

12:43p.m. Grapel is still en route to Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.

12:34p.m. Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren makes this statement;

We welcome the release of Ilan Grapel from custody in Egypt. Ilan proudly served in the IDF paratroopers and has since dedicated himself to the search of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Along with the tireless efforts of the Israeli Government, Congressman Gary Ackerman worked indefatigably to bring Ilan home. Kol Hakavod! [Good work]

11:19a.m. The Jerusalem Post reports that Ilan is in good health. The 25 Egyptian prisoners formerly held by Israel have crossed the Taba border back to their home country. Grapel's mother awaits him in Israel.

4:45a.m. YNet News reports that the U.S. has agreed to sell the new Egyptian government F-16 fighter jets in return for Grapel's release.

1:10a.m. Baysider , who knows Grapel's father, through his Bayside medical practice, and took up his cause earlier in the year, sends this message to Patch;

Isn't it the best news! I guess the Egyptians felt they could save face now that the other prisoner exchange took place and the Iranians let those other young men go.  I just pray that nothing happens to delay this again. Its unbelievable; like so many students these days, my daughter wants to go abroad to study and has an expressed interest in a future career with an NGO. After this, she'll be lucky if we let her go to Disney World without us. I hope that the Grapels have a happy reunion and that Ilan was well treated.  Hopefully, Ilan will be able to resume his studies and his life without anymore obstacles.   Thank's again for taking the time to do the article in the Patch. Its too bad that there weren't more people willing to keep Ilans story in the public eye. This could have been anyone of our children. I have a feeling that we will be seeing many more incidents like this now that these third world countries realize they can act with such impunity towards American citizens.  

*All times noted are in Eastern Standard Time

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