EL-ARISH: Egyptian border guards shot dead two Eritrean migrants on Wednesday, a security official said, bringing to at least 14 the number of migrants killed this year trying to cross illegally in to Israel.
The latest killings come just one week after guards shot dead four sub-Saharan migrants and wounded two near the 250-kilometer frontier, drawing condemnation from international human rights groups.
The two who died on Wednesday were among a group of six Eritreans who, the official said, ignored warning shots when they were spotted near the border.
Three of the migrants were wounded in the gunfire, one of them with a bullet in the chest, while another was arrested, the official said. The sixth Eritrean, who was unharmed in the shooting, said Wednesday the men had paid Bedouin traffickers $1,000 each to cross the border.
Egypt on Monday defended its policy, saying that the migrants, none of whom was armed, were given warnings to stop before they were shot. Guards killed at least 28 would-be migrants last year,
The killings have generated harsh criticism from human rights groups. The migrants say they try to leave Egypt because of poverty and racism.
The porous border has become a major transit route for migrants, asylum-seekers and drug smugglers. Israel has asked Egypt to clamp down on the traffic. -Agencies