Egypt arrests five Sudanese refugees trying to cross into Israel

Five Sudanese refugees from the war-torn western Darfur region were arrested early Thursday trying to cross illegally into Israel, a security official said. Border guards arrested the five, including one 25-year-old refugee who was seriously injured when he tried to leap the barbed wire border fence, said the official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The refugees told police that they paid US$300 dollars each for smugglers in Cairo to help them cross to Israel at the Matala village, 7 kilometers south of Rafah crossing point, the official said. They also said that they were seeking political asylum in Israel and jobs, he added. Israel estimates that 2,800 people, mostly from Africa, have entered the country illegally through its border with Egypt in recent years searching for jobs.