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Egyptian authorities detain 70 Sudanese attempting to enter Israel

The border fence along Israel's border with Egypt near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat
AFP
Sudanese embassy in contact with Egyptian security authorities regarding status of detainees

Egyptian authorities arrested some 70 Sudanese nationals as they attempted to enter Israel, Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ghareeb Allah Khidi said Saturday in a report on the SUNA news agency, according to the Associated Press

The Sudanese embassy was maintaining contact with Egyptian security authorities to follow up on the status and treatment of the Sudanese nationals, who had been detained in a Cairo prison, the spokesman said, according to the report. 

The Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian authorities are battling a jihadist insurgency, is a major route for African migrants trying to reach Israel.

Egypt border police often shot dead and wounded migrants at the border as they tried to cross into Israel between 2009 and 2011.

The northern part of the peninsula has been the stronghold of a jihadist insurgency since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Israel erected a fence along the southern border with Egypt in 2013 in an effort to stem an influx of illegal African immigrants.

Official figures show 45,000 African migrants are living in Israel, with almost all of them having come from Eritrea and Sudan via Egypt's Sinai Desert.

The journey through the Sinai is a dangerous one. The weather and terrain are harsh and the region is home to a number of extremist Islamist groups, smugglers and territorial Bedouin tribes.

African migrants have told stories of being shot at by these groups and some have also reported being kidnapped and held for ransom.

Egyptian authorities have also been known to fire at migrants as they near and attempt to cross the border into Israel.

Staff with agencies

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