Egyptian authorities arrested on Sunday 55 Sudanese migrants, including women and children, making their way to the Israeli border along Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, security sources said.

Officials discovered the group, comprising 40 men, nine women, and six children, when the truck they were hiding in was stopped at a checkpoint at dawn.

The truck driver told police that he had been paid to drive the group from Egypt's southern border with Sudan to meet smugglers in the Sinai Peninsula.

The migrants were found covered in blankets in the back of the truck, which was stopped in a tunnel connecting Egypt's mainland with the Sinai Peninsula.They said they had paid smugglers to assist them in reaching Israel, where they hoped to find work.

Security sources said the migrants have been taken to the city of Suez for further questioning by the police.

Large numbers of migrants attempt to cross the porous border between Israel and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula each year.

Egyptian police arrested 10 Africans near the Israeli border on Saturday, on the same day that Israel handed over to the Egyptian authorities two Egyptians who had illegally crossed the border.

The 255 kilometer-long border is guarded by no more than 750 Egyptian policemen, as stipulated by the 1979 Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel.

Egypt has been criticized by human rights organizations for frequently shooting and killing migrants in order to prevent them from crossing the border.