Flow of African migrants slows to a trickle
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Flow of African migrants slows to a trickle

Number of asylum-seekers crossing southern border down 90% from last year

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Dozens of African migrants cross into southern Israel through the border with Egypt in 2010. (photo credit: AP/Assaf Golan)
Dozens of African migrants cross into southern Israel through the border with Egypt in 2010. (photo credit: AP/Assaf Golan)

A mere 199 African migrants crossed the border into Israel last month, compared to 2,000 in August 2011, the Population Immigration and Border Administration reported on Monday.

The Interior Ministry attributed the sharp decline in numbers to the completion of the southern portion of the Egyptian border fence.

Other sources were cited by Ynet as attributing the decline to the deteriorating security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.

Last week, Interior Minister Eli Yishai instructed the Population Immigration and Border Administration to prepare to conduct an operation in mid-October to round up illegal migrants. For the first time, the operation will also target Sudanese migrants.

According to Yishai, all illegal migrants who turn themselves in by October 15 will receive government assistance to repatriate. The remainder will be detained and then deported.

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