29 July 2010

Egyptian police shoot Eritrean migrant at border

ISMAILIA Egypt, July 29 2010 (Reuters) - Egyptian police shot dead an Eritrean migrant as he tried to cross the Egyptian-Israeli border, medical and security sources said on Thursday.

In the second killing this week, the 28-year-old migrant was shot twice in the chest after he ignored orders to stop and fled towards Israel along the central Sinai border, the sources said.

The Sinai peninsula is a major transit route for African migrants and refugees seeking work or asylum in Israel. It is also used by smugglers to ferry narcotics and weapons into Israel and a range of goods into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Egypt has come under pressure from Israel to stop the flow, but international rights groups have called on Egypt to investigate its border guards' suspected use of excessive force against unarmed migrants.

Security forces say they fire at migrants only after repeated orders to stop are ignored, and say that in some cases smugglers who ferry migrants to the border have opened fire on security forces.

Egyptian police have killed at least 21 migrants along its border with Israel so far this year, up from 19 during all of 2009. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Dina Zayed)