Israel army kills Egypt smuggler near border, says security official

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EL-ARISH: Israeli soldiers have killed an Egyptian smuggler who had sneaked across the border, a security official told AFP on Wednesday.

Suleiman Sweilam Suleiman, 26, was killed earlier this week by the Israeli army after he crossed from the Sinai peninsula into Israel and is suspected to have planned to sell drugs, the official said.

Israeli authorities have informed us that they will return his body to Egypt within the next two days, the official said.

In a separate incident, Egyptian police arrested 17 Egyptians suspected of people smuggling and 28 African migrants trying to enter Israel illegally, another security official said.

The Sudanese, Ethiopian and Eritrean migrants were arrested while trying to cross the desert border into Israel on Tuesday night and Wednesday, security sources said.

Also on Tuesday, Egyptian police raided homes in the Sinai and arrested 17 Egyptians suspected of helping migrants cross into Israel.

The porous 250-km border has become a major transit route for migrants, asylum-seekers and drug smugglers.

African migrants in Egypt complain of poor treatment and discrimination. Hundreds have been arrested trying to slip into Israel.

Egyptian police shot dead two Sudanese migrants at the Egyptian border with Israel earlier this month, bringing the death toll of migrants killed at the border by Egyptian police this year to 22.

In August, Amnesty International urged the Egyptian government to launch an investigation into the killings. -AFP

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