gaza egypt border 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Egyptian police opened fire Saturday on a group of 10 African immigrants trying to illegally cross into Israel and arrested four of them, a Sinai security official said.
The other six managed to cross into Israel, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. It was not know if any of the six had been injured by the gunfire.
The four who were arrested were all Eritrean and told authorities that the six who crossed included three people from Eritrea, one from Sudan and another from the Ivory Coast.
The flow of illegal immigrants from Egypt into Israel has been a source of tension between the two countries, prompting the Jewish state to call on Cairo to do more to police its border. Following these calls, Egyptian border guards have killed or wounded several Africans in recent months as they tried to sneak into Israel.
The arrested Eritreans had paid US$1,000 (â‚¬706) to a smuggler in Cairo to take them to the Sinai Peninsula and help them illegally cross into Israel, said the Sinai security official.
Israel estimates that 2,800 people have entered the country illegally through its border with Egypt in recent years, nearly all from Africa.
Many African refugees find life difficult in Egypt, a country that struggles to provide jobs and social services for a growing refugee population.