In attempting to come to the Jewish State through Egypt’s Sinai desert, 15 African migrants were shot dead near Israel’s border by unknown assailants.
The bodies of 15 African migrants were found Sunday by Egyptian police near the country’s border with Israel, according to security sources. Another eight migrants were reportedly found injured.
“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.”
Security sources confirmed the migrants were shot but said the circumstances of their deaths had not yet been determined.
The Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian authorities are battling a jihadist insurgency, is a major route for African migrants trying to reach Israel.
Israel erected a fence along the southern border with Egypt in 2013 in an effort to stem an influx of illegal African immigrants.
Official figures show 45,000 African migrants are living in Israel, with almost all of them having come from Eritrea and Sudan via Egypt’s Sinai Desert.
The journey through the Sinai is a dangerous one. The weather and terrain are harsh and the region is home to a number of extremist Islamist groups, smugglers and territorial Bedouin tribes.
African migrants have told stories of being shot at by these groups and some have also reported being kidnapped and held for ransom.
Egyptian authorities have also been known to fire at migrants as they near and attempt to cross the border into Israel.
According to Israel’s Channel 10 news, earlier this month a Sudanese man was shot and killed by Egyptian military personnel after they fired on a group of migrants attempting to cross the border into Israel.
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