Egypt police kill 15 Sudan migrants at Israel border
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