EL-ARISH, Egypt — A group of Sudanese migrants were caught up Sunday in the crossfire of a gun battle between Egyptian security forces and Bedouin smugglers as they were about to illegally enter Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, security and hospital officials said. Fifteen of the migrants were killed and eight were wounded, they said.
An additional eight migrants, who were unhurt in the incident, were arrested by the Egyptians and were being interrogated, the officials said.
The officials earlier said that the 15 Sudanese migrants were killed by security forces as they approached the wire fence separating Sinai from Israel at a border point about 12 miles south of Rafah, an Egyptian town on the border with the Gaza Strip.
The Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, had no immediate comment on the incident.
Most of the wounded were in serious condition with injuries to their abdomens, the officials said.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The death of the 15 migrants ended a lull in attempts to cross into Israel from Sinai, mostly because of stricter surveillance and stepped-up military operations in the area by Egyptian security forces battling Islamist militants led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group.
The Islamic State has occupied vast swaths of Iraq and Syria since summer 2014 and has been expanding its presence in many other countries, including Libya and Afghanistan.
Sunday’s death toll is among the highest in a single incident involving Sudanese migrants in Egypt since 2005, when Egyptian riot police used water cannons and truncheons to clear a ramshackle encampment set up by Sudanese refugees in an upscale Cairo neighborhood. The migrants had hoped to draw attention to their demands to be resettled in a third country.
Israel’s Interior Ministry said that more than 45,000 African migrants and asylum seekers, including many Sudanese, are in Israel. Many say they are fleeing conflict and persecution and are seeking refugee status. Israel says, however, that they are economic migrants whose growing numbers threaten the country’s Jewish character.
It were illegally from officials were wounded.
Who were unhurt in the incident.
It were the wire fence from on with the police,no immediate.
Most of wounded were the officials.
The officials were not authorized into Israel from Sinai surveillance security forces has occupied vast swaths of presence.
A single incident involving used water sets up to draw fleeing refugee status,whose growing numbers.