Egypt arrested 13 foreigners trying to cross into Israel early Monday to seek asylum, a security official said.
The 13 were captured at dawn trying to climb over a coil of barbed wire that lines the border between Israel and Egypt in the northeast Sinai desert, police said.
The spot is south of the official border-crossing with Israel, and some 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of El Arish, where the group was dropped off by a Bedouin gang of smugglers, officials said.
The detainees included 11 Chinese and two men from Ghana, another official said. The Ghanaians were students at Cairo's Al-Azhar Islamic University, he said.
All were seeking asylum in Israel, and were being held in El Arish, officials said.