Egyptians, 6 Israelis jailed in Egypt over spying for Israel

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CAIRO, March 8 (Xinhua) — An Egyptian court sentenced on Wednesday three Egyptians and six Israelis to 25 years in jail over forming a cell for spying in favor of Israel, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported.
Among the nine defendants, two Egyptians have been in custody while the other seven have been sentenced in absentia, the report said, noting the six Israelis included four officers in Israel’s military intelligence.
The verdict has been issued by Arish Criminal Court, which is based in Arish city of restive North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
However, the court session has been held in the Suez Canal province of Ismailia for security reasons, as Arish has been a target for anti-government attacks over the past few years.
Egypt convicted a number of Israelis in similar espionage cases but they mostly were tried and sentenced in absentia. The two neighboring states also have a history of prisoner swap.
Egypt has a U.S.-brokered peace treaty with Israel since 1979 and there is security coordination between the two countries at the bordering areas near the Sinai Peninsula.