Israel gets tough on migrants

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Israeli police have held 200 African asylum-seekers in the first stage of a crackdown on illegal immigrants from Egypt ordered by the Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

The immigrants – many from Sudan – were arrested around the old bus station in Tel Aviv, where many were living in squalid makeshift shelters. The interior ministry said those with permits would be freed, those whose status is being reviewed by the UN would be given a limited stay, and others deported.

Of 7,000 Africans from Egypt in Israel illegally, Israel is committed to allowing only 600, all from Darfur, to stay. There is concern over the fate of most of the 48 refugees forcibly deported to Egypt in August. Five were sent back to Sudan but the whereabouts of the rest is unknown.

Egyptian border police shot and wounded a Sudanese and a man from Ivory Coast as they tried to cross into Israel.