EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian officials in the Sinai Peninsula say police killed 15 Sudanese migrants and wounded another eight who were trying to jump the border fence into Israel.
The officials say police opened fire on the migrants Sunday after they ignored warning shots and sprinted toward the fence. The security forces arrested another eight Sudanese migrants who were not wounded.
“Fifteen bodies of Africans shot dead were found at dawn on Sunday south of (the town of) Rafah,” said Tariq Khatir, a representative of the health ministry in North Sinai.
“We also found eight Africans who were wounded but whose condition is stable.”
All Egyptian officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
There are an estimated 50,000 African migrants currently in Israel, most of whom do not have official status.
Many say they are fleeing conflict and persecution and are seeking refugee status. Israeli officials contend they are economic migrants, and have resisted calls to recognize them as refugees.
A border fence equipped with sensors that alert on infiltration attempts was completed in 2012. The fence was built to stymie the stream of African migrants and, to a lesser extent, to stop the smuggling of controlled substances from Sinai into Israel.
Sunday’s shooting is not the first time African migrants trying to enter Israel have been killed by Egypt.
Last week another Sudanese man was killed when the Egyptian military fired on a group of migrants attempting to cross the border into Israel.Three others were seriously injured and were taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center for treatment, the report said. It wasn’t clear what happened to the remaining 20-odd members of the group.