Traffickers shoot dead Egypt officer on Israel border

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AL-ARISH: Human traffickers shot dead an officer in Egypt’s border police on Monday as they tried to smuggle a group of African immigrants into Israel, security officials said.

“The officer and his colleagues were on patrol at Bir Mouin (south of the Gaza border post at Rafah) and tried to intercept illegal immigrants seeking to cross the border with Israel, the official said, requesting anonymity.

“The traffickers opened fire on the patrol, he said.

Another security official said the officer, Mohamed Ali Al-Kersh, was hit in the chest and taken to Rafah hospital where he died.

He said the six armed and masked Egyptian traffickers fled back into Egypt with an unknown number of African immigrants after the shooting.

At least 16 migrants have been killed by Egyptian police on the border with Israel this year, while the last known death of a member of the border security forces at the hands of traffickers was in December 2007.

Egypt has over the past year arrested dozens of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, trying to cross into Israel from the Sinai in search of work.

The 250-km frontier between the two countries is notoriously porous and is often used by drugs smugglers as well as people traffickers.

In February, Amnesty International slammed Egypt’s use of force at the border. -AFP

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