Egyptian police killed Eritrean woman who tried to slip across the border with two daughters, aged eight and 10
More than 1,500 Africans, mostly from Eritrea, have entered Israel illegally through Egypt since the start of the year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday.
Israeli officials confirmed the number of illegal immigrants has increased significantly in recent weeks. Between February 5 and 13 alone, 333 illegal immigrants were intercepted by the Israeli armed forces, according to interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad.
"More than 1,500 Africans who arrived since January 1 have presented asylum requests through the HCR," a spokesman for the UN refugee agency told AFP. He said most of the migrants were from Eritrea.
Last year, Israeli authorities said illegal immigration surged to around 4,000 people, or some four times more than a previous annual average.
In recent months, dozens of migrants, most of them Africans, have been arrested and some shot dead in Egypt as they tried to make their way across the border.
On Saturday, Egyptian police shot and killed a 37 year-old Eritrean woman who tried to slip across the border with two daughters, aged eight and 10.
Israel decided earlier this month to put up a security barrier along its border with Egypt to prevent entry both by Palestinians planning attacks and by illegal migrants.