Infiltration of 36 African migrants to Israel prevented due to coordination between IDF, Sinai security forces
Egyptian forces prevented the infiltration of African migrants into Israel over the weekend. On Friday, an IDF force stationed in the Eilat Mountains detected a group of 36 people trying to cross the border, where a fence has yet to been erected. They then alerted the Egyptian forces who foiled the attempt, unlike most cases.
According to available details, IDF soldiers had warned the infiltrators not to cross the border as the Egyptian officers arrived at the scene and prevented the infiltration.
IDF forces deployed along the border witness shooting incidents involving the Egyptian forces and Bedouins who try to smuggle narcotics, weapons and infiltrators into Israel on a daily basis. The IDF is witnessing growing infiltration efforts as construction of the fence progresses. The fence has already been breached once, a month ago.
Meanwhile, members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee toured the Egyptian border to study the infiltration problem on Sunday. The MKs also visited the Saharonim holding facility. MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) said that infiltrators who disobey warnings should be shot.
MK Ofir Akunis said, “This is a national concern. There are two things that need to be done immediately: Complete the fence and return the infiltrators to their countries of origin or a third country.”
The majority of infiltrators who cross the border illegally are taken by IDF soldiers to the Saharonim facility. Those who declare themselves citizens of Sudan and Eritrea are questioned by Immigration Authority officials but are not checked for eligibility for refugee status. Israel is obliged to award those deemed refugees certain rights.Eritreans and Sudanese are usually issued a certificate which states it is not a work permit.
However, subject to a January 2011 High Court ruling, the visa allows the foreigners to work and prevents their employers from being sanctioned until a detention center is built.
The foreigners who leave Saharonim are given public transportation vouchers and usually head to south Tel Aviv from Beersheba.
By Yoav Zitun