All-time High of 2,000 Illegal Infiltrators Crossed Israel-Egypt Border Last Month

Population Authority says 10 to 15 percent of those who cross elude authorities and reach cities across Israel; most come from Africa, some also from Turkey and China.

A record 2,000 people managed to cross the Egypt-Israel border illegally last month, according to the Population Authority. Most came from Africa, while others reportedly came from Turkey and China.

Those infiltrators who were caught were taken to Saharonim detention center in the Negev, but the Population Authority says 10 to 15 percent of the infiltrators managed to elude the IDF and reach various cities in Israel. An estimated 300 people reportedly made it to Tel Aviv last month without encountering security forces.

Israel-Egypt border.
Moti Milrod

The Israel Defense Forces has since beefed up its presence on the Egypt-Israel border, following the mid-August terror attack on Road 12 to Eilat, and in the face of warnings about further attacks. There have been three separate warnings of terror attacks along the Israel-Egypt border, one in northern Sinai near the Gaza Strip and two near Eilat.

Yet despite the augmented IDF forces, about 111 infiltrators reportedly crossed the border during the past 24 hours.

Believing that a clash between soldiers and terrorists on the Egyptian border near Gaza could spark violence elsewhere near the Strip, the IDF has boosted its tanks and personnel in other areas as well.

Yesterday, GOC Southern Command Tal Russo toured units stationed on the Egyptian border in order to study deployment in light of the warnings.

Meanwhile, numerous Christian pilgrims from South Korea - who normally begin their visits to Israel in Eilat after arriving in Cairo and touring Sinai - have canceled their tours due to security fears, a representative of Korean Air said yesterday.