ISMAILIA, Egypt, (Reuters) – Egyptian police shot and wounded two migrants from Sudan and Ghana who tried to slip over Egypt’s desert frontier into Israel on Wednesday, security sources said.
Eleven migrants have been killed at the Egypt-Israel border since the start of the year, while scores of others, mostly from Africa, have been detained. Police killed an Eritrean migrant at the border last week.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said both men, one in his twenties and the other in his early thirties, had been seriously wounded and taken to hospital in the nearby coastal city of el-Arish.
London-based rights group Amnesty International says thousands of migrants try to cross into the Jewish state from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula each year, with numbers rising since 2007.
New arrivals surged late last year after Israel granted around 2,000 Eritreans temporary work permits.
The migrants, including many from Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, are seeking work or asylum away from conflict at home and harsh living conditions in Egypt, where activists say African migrants face economic marginalisation and racism.
Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter has said about 2,000 migrants entered the country illegally from Egypt in the first two months of 2008.
Amnesty has called for an investigation into the border killings and says Israel has pressed Egypt to reduce the flow of people crossing illegally.