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24 Jul 2007 07:19
Egyptian police opened fire on two Sudanese migrants trying to sneak across the border into Israel, injuring one, security sources said on Tuesday.
A security source told Reuters the men, accompanied by traffickers smuggling them across the border, were trying to cross the border south of the Rafah crossing on Monday when they were spotted by border guards.
One of the traffickers opened fire at the police, and in the ensuing exchange of fire, one of the Sudanese, Osama Moussa Abqar (33) was injured, the security source said.
Abqar was being treated in a hospital in North Sinai, while the other migrant, Nagy Mohamed Abqar (28) had been arrested, the source added.
The shooting is the third 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.
On Sunday, Egyptian police shot at a group of African migrants trying to enter Israel illegally, killing one woman and wounding four, including a child.
Last month, Egyptian authorities arrested 106 Sudanese trying to cross into Israel.
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 where activists say they face persistent racism, abuse and economic marginalisation.
The Sinai Peninsula has long been host to Bedouin smuggling rings who will take people, weapons, or drugs and tobacco across the Egyptian frontier into Israel or the Gaza Strip for a price. - Reuters
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