African migrants sleep in a room inside a store while waiting to be smuggled into Israel, near the Egyptian-Israeli border in Sinai December 24, 2010. Sinai's border with Israel is a main trafficking route for thousands of African migrants seeking asylum in Israel. Israel has criticised Egypt for not doing enough to stem the flow. Israel began work in November 2010 on a 266-km (166-mile) border fence with Egypt to block the flow of African migrants. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
Egyptian authorities arrested 16 Ethiopians and Eritreans who were trying to illegally cross the Egypt-Israel border Saturday.
Officials say they were arrested during two different attempts to enter Israel.
Illegal immigration to Israel through Egypt has increased over recent years. The Egyptian police have shot and killed a number of immigrants in Sinai, drawing a critical response from human rights watchdogs.
This year, Israel declared that it is planning to build a 250-kilometre security fence along the Egypt-Israel border, as well as a large detention centre hold illegal immigrants.
Hundreds of African immigrants marched in Tel Aviv Friday protesting the government plan crack down on illegal immigration.
Those demonstrating said they aimed to escape poverty while many in Israel think that the immigrants are a threat to the country’s Jewish character.