18 December 2009

Egyptian police kill two migrants at Israeli border


EL-ARISH, Egypt, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Egyptian police shot dead two African migrants trying to slip across the border into Israel on Friday, security sources said. Police in Egypt have stepped up efforts to control the frontier with Israel in recent months and have killed at least 19 migrants at the border since May.

One of the migrants was identified as a 22-year-old Sudanese, Bakheet Noureen Abdullah, one source said, adding that the second man's identity was unknown.

The Sinai border is on one of the main routes for African migrants and refugees seeking work or asylum in Israel.

Eritreans are the largest group who try to cross into Israel but Ethiopians and Sudanese also frequently make the trek.

Egypt has faced Israeli pressure to halt the flow and says the people smugglers who ferry migrants to the border region sometimes fire on security forces. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; writing by Alexander Dziadosz in Cairo; editing by Andrew Dobbie)