Egyptian border guards killed 15 Sudanese migrants at the Sinai border with Israel on Sunday as they were reportedly caught in the crossfire between security forces and Bedouin traffickers, according to the Associated Press.
They were killed 17 kilometers South of Rafah City, where eight others were also shot in the chest and abdomen as they attempted to jump the border fence, AP reported, quoting unnamed security and hospital sources in the Sinai Peninsula.
Those injured are now being interrogated, after reportedly ignoring warning shots by security forces, AP added.
There has been little coverage of this fatal incident in Egyptian media or by government and security officials.
The privately owned Cairo News Portal issued a similar report, citing Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Israeli radio.
The incident is one of the bloodiest since December 2005, when Egyptian police forces killed 23 Sudanese nationals — including women, children, and the elderly — who had established a protest camp in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo. Consequently, many have sought asylum in Israel since 2006.
According to figures compiled by Human Rights Watch, Egyptian forces killed 10 people attempting to cross the border with Israel throughout 2007. In 2008, another 23 Sudanese and Sub-Saharan Africans were killed by Egyptian forces, and many others have experienced severe physical and psychological abuse from human traffickers.
Israel’s Interior Ministry claims there are over 45,000 African migrants in the country, most of whom are Sudanese and Eritrean refugees who have fled war and violence, although Israel classes them predominantly as economic migrants. Many have cited discrimination and threats of deportation by the Israeli state.
From 2011 to its completion in 2013, Israel fortified its border with Egypt by building a barrier equipped with cameras, motion detectors and radar to keep people from crossing.