Egypt po­lice kill 15 Su­dan mi­grants at Is­rael border

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

EL-AR­ISH, Egypt: Egyp­tian po­lice yes­ter­day killed 15 Su­danese mi­grants and wounded an­other eight who were try­ing to jump into Is­rael over the fence sep­a­rat­ing it from Egypt’s Si­nai Penin­sula, se­cu­rity and hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials said.

They said po­lice opened fire on the mi­grants af­ter they ig­nored warn­ing shots and sprinted to­ward the fence. The se­cu­rity forces ar­rested an­other eight Su­danese mi­grants who were not wounded. Most of the wounded were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion af­ter they suf­fered wounds to the chest and stom­ach, they said.

The in­ci­dent took place at a border point about 17 km south of Rafah, an Egyp­tian town on the border with the Gaza Strip. The killings ended a lull in at­tempts by mi­grants to cross into Is­rael from Si­nai, mostly be­cause of stricter sur­veil­lance and stepped up mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in the area by Egyp­tian se­cu­rity forces bat­tling Is­lamic mil­i­tants led by a lo­cal af­fil­i­ate of the ex­trem­ist Is­lamic State group. All Egyp­tian of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to speak to the me­dia.

Sun­day’s death toll is among the high­est in a sin­gle in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Su­danese mi­grants in Egypt since 2005, when Egyp­tian riot po­lice used wa­ter can­nons and trun­cheons to bru­tally clear a ram­shackle en­camp­ment set up by Su­danese refugees in an up­scale Cairo neigh­bor­hood. The mi­grants had hoped to draw at­ten­tion to their de­mands to be re­set­tled in a third coun­try.

Is­rael’s In­te­rior Min­istry says more than 45,000 African mi­grants and asy­lum seek­ers, who in­clude many Su­danese, are in Is­rael. Many say they are flee­ing con­flict and per­se­cu­tion and are seek­ing refugee sta­tus. Is­rael says they are eco­nomic mi­grants whose grow­ing num­bers threaten the coun­try’s Jewish char­ac­ter. — AP

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