Israeli spy is born again

Egypt sent a convicted Israeli &to=http:// ' target=_blank>spy home after eight years in jail and Israel released six Egyptian infiltrators Sunday in a sign that relations strained by the Palestinian uprising were warming.

Both cases had elements of the bizarre. Azzam Azzam, an Israeli Arab textile worker, was alleged to have passed messages in women's underwear using invisible ink. Israel said the Egyptians detained in August had planned to hijack a tank.

By putting the two affairs behind them, Israel and Egypt seemed to be setting the stage for closer security cooperation over Israel's plan to withdraw from &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Gaza in 2005, and to advance the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian talks, says ABC News.

According to the Economic Times, shouting, "I am born again," Azzam, a member of the Druze sect, crossed into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula hours after six Egyptian students charged with conspiring to attack Israeli soldiers were returned home.

Jailed in 1996 in Egypt, where he worked in a Israeli-Egyptian textile venture, Azzam was sentenced a year later to a 15-year term after being found guilty of spying for an Israeli body.