Egypt shoots dead 14th African migrant

April 20, 2010 12:00 am

, CAIRO, Apr 20 – Egyptian police shot dead an Eritrean migrant on Tuesday as he tried to cross illegally into Israel, a security official said, raising to 14 the number of such fatal cases since the start of 2010.

He said the 31-year-old man was hit in the stomach and died on the spot while another Eritrean, 22, was taken to nearby El-Arish hospital with a bullet wound in the thigh. They had both ignored police orders to stop.

Cairo has rejected constant criticism from human rights groups of its policy of using potentially lethal force against African migrants trying to enter illegally into the Jewish state.

It says the infiltration bids amount to "criminal acts … and damage the sovereignty of the state," noting the border with Israel is a military zone and most cases take place at night, complicating the work of border patrols.

According to security services in Egypt, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, 19 migrants were killed last year. Most of the migrants hail from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The Sinai desert border between Egypt and Israel has become a major trafficking route for African migrants seeking jobs and for east European women headed for the sex trade.


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