Egypt defends shootings of migrants on borders with Israel
Egypt defended on Monday its shootings of illegal migrants on its borders with Israel, saying it defends its borders within the framework of "respect" for international laws, Xinhua reported.
Spokesman of Egyptian Foreign Ministry Hossam Zaki said in a statement issued on Monday that "Egyptian security forces use gradual measures and start by issuing warnings by loudspeakers, several times and then they fire in the air."
"Egyptian guards only fire in the direction of the migrants when they refuse to stop in this sensitive area of the borders," added Zaki.
He stressed that these measures are only to ensure the security along the borders and they are in the framework of combating smuggling.
Zaki's statement came after increasing international criticism from human rights groups on Egypt's policy of shooting migrants.
"Dealing with these migrants is for Egyptian national security and safety of its forces and Egypt's international commitment to fight smuggling," said Zaki.
Last week, Egyptian police shot dead four African migrants as they tried to enter Israel illegally. They also arrested eight African illegal migrants at a security checkpoint in southern Ismalia, 120 km northeast of Cairo, as they were on a bus on their way to Sinai.
Earlier in August, smugglers killed an Egyptian policeman and injured another while trying to help illegal migrants across Egypt 's borders to Israel.
The Egyptian border with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula is the scene of frequent attempts by illegal migrants of different nationalities to cross into Israel for work or smuggling. Egypt has stepped up patrols to stop such activities in recent years.
A total of 124 illegal migrants were arrested in June and 1,016 in 2008, according to official statistics.