CAIRO: News reports quoted security sources as saying that an Egyptian policeman was shot on the border with Israel by traffickers attempting to smuggle in African immigrants, but sources from Al-Arish told Daily News Egypt that the smuggled party also included Russian prostitutes.
Initial news reports stated that an Egyptian policeman, Mohammed Abdel-Mohsen Al-Guindi, 21, was shot and killed in a gunfire battle after ordering Bedouin tribesmen smuggling African immigrants into Israel to stop.
But North Sinai Tagammu party secretary Alaa Al-Kashef told Daily News Egypt that the trafficked party was comprised mainly of Russian females heading to Israel to work as prostitutes. Some even managed to cross the border, he added.
“This happened in the area of Gifgasa near the border, which is patrolled by Egyptian security services as well as Israeli patrols on the other side. The shootout erupted and the policeman was killed, but the smugglers fled. The trafficked group even managed to enter Israel, Al-Kashef said.
Bedouin spokesman in Sinai Sheikh Mussa Al-Dilh told Daily News Egypt that it was wrong to assume that the smugglers were Bedouin since they had not been caught.
“They didn’t find them yet, so why do they assume they are Bedouin? he asked. “There are many possibilities and this is an open area.
Al-Dilh met with representatives of Egyptian security services Tuesday night to ascertain what happened and why they suspected that the fleeing smugglers were Bedouin.
According to Agence France-Presse, there were four Bedouin smugglers who opened gunfire Friday night on Al-Guindi before escaping and that the party eventually entered Israel after the shootout while the Bedouin smugglers disappeared into the desert.
Early Saturday, Egyptian border guards prevented 11 African refugees from entering Israel. Five were injured in the process and were later transferred to Al-Arish hospital for treatment.
Authorities opened fire on the would-be migrants after they refused to surrender 100 km south of the Rafah border crossing, injuring one. The other four were injured as they attempted to jump over the barbed wire demarcating the borderline.
Attempts are often made to cross the border into Israel, which has returned some 2,000 refugees back to Egypt since last June. However, it is not just refugees seeking opportunities who attempt to cross, but smugglers also traffic women for prostitution rings in Israel, a burgeoning business in the country.
Egyptian authorities are still searching the area for suspects in the death of Al-Guindi.