Beduin smugglers involved in helping Africans infiltrate Israel from Egypt are believed to be stealing organs from those unable to pay them large sums for their services, CNN reported on Thursday.

The New Generation Foundation for Human Rights, based in El-Arish in North Sinai, and the EveryOne Group, from Italy, have provided evidence of migrants’ bodies being found in the Sinai desert with organs missing, according to the report.

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CNN quotes a Beduin source as saying the Sawarka Beduin tribe was involved in such organ theft.

Hamdy al-Azazy, head of the New Generation Foundation, has photographs taken in a morgue in El-Arish, depicting corpses with scars in the abdominal area. He said the organs were taken while the victims were still alive.

“The organs are not useful if they’re dead. They drug them first and remove their organs, then leave them to die and dump them in a deep dry well along with hundreds of bodies,” CNN quoted him as saying.

“Mobile clinics using advanced technology come from a private hospital in Cairo to an area in the deserts of mid-Sinai and conduct physicals on the Africans before they choose those suitable; then they conduct the operation,” Azazy said.

In a report released by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel in February, 52 percent of African migrants treated at a Jaffa clinic report having suffered physical abuse while in Sinai.

Israeli NGOs have said they suspect that the situation has worsened as Sinai has become more lawless since the Mubarak regime fell in March.

According to a report released earlier this year by the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, there were 33,273 “illegal infiltrators” in Israel as of December 23, 2010, all of whom arrived by way of the porous southern border with Egypt. Of these, 19,442 were from Eritrea, 8,256 were from Sudan, and 5,575 were from other countries in Africa.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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