CAIRO – Egyptian forces on Sunday shot and killed 15 Sudanese migrants who were attempting to illegally cross the border into Israel, Egyptian security sources said.
The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the 15 people were among 23 migrants attempting to illegally cross the border from Egypt’s Rafah city in the northern Sinai into Israel when Egyptian soldiers opened fire.
The other eight were shot and wounded, before being evacuated to Rafah hospital, the sources said.
They told Ma’an that Egyptian border forces called on the 23 migrants to halt, saying that they had been caught, and when the group failed to do so, the soldiers opened fire on them.
The incident reportedly took place around the number 117 border marker.
Earlier on Sunday, the same sources reported that another eight African migrants were caught and detained while trying to cross the border fence in a different location. It was not clear which country those migrants were coming from.
The UN says there are some 53,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in Israel, most of whom entered via the desert border with Egypt.
In 2013, Israel launched a crackdown on what it said were 60,000 undocumented African migrants, rounding up and deporting 3,920 by the end of the year, and building a hi-tech fence along the border with Egypt.
Israeli authorities opened the Holot detention camp in the southern Negev desert as part of the 2013 crackdown on undocumented migrants, with the facility open by day but locked down at night.
Under legislation passed by the Knesset in December 2013, Israel can detain undocumented migrants for up to a year without trial. The law was slammed by the UN refugee agency which said Israel could be in breach of international law.