African migrants look on at police on horseback keeping the peace in south Tel Aviv.
African migrants look on at police on horseback keeping the peace in south Tel Aviv. Photo by Moti Milrod
Text size

Three Chinese nationals trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel were wounded Monday morning, along with one of their armed escorts, by Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

The incident occurred after a patrol from the Givati infantry brigade identified a group of migrants attempting to cross the border in the Nahal Paran area.

Ten migrants, most from China, were led by four armed men. The IDF force shouted for them to halt and when they didn't, the troops opened fire, and the armed men fired back. One of the gunmen, along with the three Chinese migrants, were injured and were flown by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

The migrants and armed men who were not injured fled back to Egypt. None of the IDF soldiers were hurt. On a geographically distant but strategically related front, a beefed-up squadron of inspectors from the Population and Immigration Authority patrolled the streets in south Tel Aviv, aiming to round up African migrants without visas.

Also, some 40 Border Policemen are maintaining a presence on the southside. Last night, they and immigration inspectors circulated around cafes run by foreign nationals. Police explained they were at these potential flashpoints to head off possible clashes between Israeli residents, refugees and migrant workers.

Late Friday night, one south Tel Aviv resident, Yevgeni Stakalov, 58, was beaten up by two assailants he described as Africans. Stakalov was working as a security guard at a building site on the southside Chlenov Street. "He came home with blood all over his body," said his daughter Yana. "He suffers from serious injuries to his head and arms."

It took the daughter several hours to ascertain what happened to Stakalov. "My father replaced a guard who had argued with the two men several hours earlier. This guard told the two men that if they did not leave, he would call the police. They returned later to settle a grudge, and ended up attacking my father." The Knesset's Interior Committee will discuss crime among the country's foreign population on Tuesday. The hearing, however, will be missing one side of the debate - on Monday, representatives of six human rights NGOs told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin they would not participate. The human rights activists referred to the "inflammatory statements" made in south Tel Aviv recently about refugees and migrant workers. "We choose not to serve as window dressing for people who incite and foment fear and hatred, and so we will not take part in this hearing," they wrote to Rivlin.