Report: Israel rounds up migrants for deportation
Published Monday 11/06/2012 (updated) 12/06/2012 15:02
Sudanese protesters hold signs during a demonstration in Tel Aviv
against the deportation of migrants from South Sudan June 10, 2012.
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli immigration police arrested dozens of African migrants in Eilat early Monday as part of a strategy to deport asylum seekers, Israel's Haaretz reported.
Police raided a neighborhood in the Red Sea city and demanded that the South Sudanese migrants packed all their belongings and withdrew money from bank accounts.
Last week, an Israeli court upheld the planned deportation of South Sudanese deemed to have entered Israel illegally.
Rejecting a petition by human rights groups that had delayed the Interior Ministry's April 1 deportation order, Jerusalem District Court ruled the state was not obligated to extend de facto asylum to the estimated 1,500 migrants from South Sudan.
The decision was welcomed by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai who said he "hopes this is the first step in a series of measures allowing us to deport (migrants) from Eritrea and north Sudan."
Street violence has surged in recent months against the migrants, including a rampage in a low-income Tel Aviv neighborhood where many migrants, from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan, live.
On May 23, crowds of demonstrators attacked African residents, smashed store-fronts belonging to the migrant community and looted other commercial properties.
Trash cans were set alight and a crowd attacked an African driving through the area, breaking his car's windows in an incident Israel's Army Radio likened to pogrom attacks on Jews in 19th century Europe.
Reuters contributed to this report