Egyptian officials in the Sinai Peninsula say 15 Sudanese migrants have been killed near the Israeli border in Egypt, after reportedly getting caught in crossfire between Egyptian security forces and Bedouin smugglers.
The officials say police opened fire on the migrants Sunday after they ignored warning shots and sprinted toward the fence.
The accident happened around 12 miles south of the town of Rafah in the northern Sinai region, a troubled area, close to the border with both Israel and Gaza.
Ambulances rushed from Rafah to the site of the attack, in which eight other migrants were injured, security and hospital officials said.
The security forces arrested another eight Sudanese migrants who were not wounded, the officials said.
As reported by the Associated Press, the Sudanese migrants were preparing to illegally enter Israel when they were killed.
Israel’s Interior Ministry says more than 45,000 African migrants and asylum seekers are in Israel. Many say they are fleeing conflict and persecution and are seeking refugee status. Israel says they are economic migrants whose swelling numbers threaten the country’s Jewish character.
* The Associated Press and Independent have contributed to the above story.