Egyptian police opened fire on a group of African migrants trying to sneak across the border into Israel on Sunday, killing one woman and wounding four including a child, security sources said.“Hajja Abbas Haroun, 28-years-old, died and three other Sudanese and a woman from Ivory Coast were injured during an attempt … to illegally enter Israel across the border south of the Rafah crossing,” a security source told Reuters on customary condition of anonymity.
Among the injured was an 11-year-old Sudanese girl, he said.
The shooting was the second in less than a month involving African migrants on the border with Israel, and came amid stepped up Egyptian efforts to block a surge of migrants from entering Israel after rumours spread that the Jewish state would welcome them and give them work.
The source said border police had spotted the migrants walking toward the border and ordered them to stop, opening fire when they failed to do so. Police arrested 22 of the migrants — from Sudan, Ivory Coast and Eritrea. But others successfully made it across the border.
The migrants are drawn to Israel by reports of better living conditions and hopes of gaining asylum there, but are also keen to leave Egypt were activists say they face persistent racism, abuse and economic marginalisation.
The Sinai Peninsula has long been host to Bedouin smuggling rings who will slip people, weapons, or drugs and tobacco across the Egyptian frontier into Israel or the Gaza Strip for a price.
Last month, Egyptian authorities arrested 106 Sudanese trying to cross into Israel, Egyptian security sources said, and earlier this month Egyptian border police shot at a group of Sudanese trying to sneak into Israel, wounding one.