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An Egyptian security official says border guards have fatally shot two African migrants and injured five others who were trying to cross illegally into Israel.

The official said the guards first fired warning shots to stop the migrants from crossing the border south of Rafah on Saturday. Most of the migrants were Eritrean.

The official said the wounded were taken to a hospital. One of them was listed in critical condition. One other migrant was detained.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Sinai border is a major transit route for Africans seeking work or asylum in Israel. Eritreans are the largest group attempting the journey, although Ethiopians and Sudanese also make the trek.

Egypt has come under pressure from Israel to staunch the flow, while rights groups complain about the methods of the border police.

An Israeli journalist was arrested this month at the border after paying smuggling gangs to let him witness their operations and slip back into Israel with a group of migrants. He was released a week later.

The United Nations and Amnesty International have called on Egypt to check its border guards' use of excessive force against unarmed migrants. Egypt rejected comments by the U.N. human right chief earlier this month, saying they were "full of mistakes and incorrect allegations".

Security forces say they fire at migrants only if repeated orders to stop are disregarded and that smugglers who ferry migrants to the border sometimes fire on security forces.