El-Arish: Smugglers and police have
shot dead six Eritreans near the Israeli border, in the latest
case of illegal crossings that have become perilous, an
Egyptian security official said on Saturday.
The deadly clashes took place late last night after the
African migrants seized the weapons of the people traffickers
in a bid to escape, the official told a news agency on condition of
He said four Eritreans -- three men and a woman -- were
killed in an exchange of fire between the migrants and
smugglers, and police shot dead two Eritreans from the same
group as they tried to cross illegally into Israel.
The police detained 22 migrants, five of whom were
wounded in the violence, and were still searching for the
smugglers as well as for other members of the group estimated
to number 60, the security official said.
After a failed attempt to smuggle the migrants into
Israel, the traffickers had demanded money for their release,
migrants told the police.
The deaths bring to 28 the number of African migrants
killed so far this year in attempts to cross to Israel in
search of a better life and job prospects, 24 of them by
Egypt`s police, according to the security services.
The figure compares with 19 migrants killed last year in
Egypt, a country with a 1979 peace treaty with Israel which
has called for stricter border controls. Most of the migrants
hail from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Cairo has rejected harsh criticism from human rights
groups of its policy of using potentially lethal force against
migrants along its 250 km border with Israel.