JERUSALEM — Israel is refusing to allow entry to a group of African migrants huddled at a desert border fence with Egypt, officials said Wednesday, underscoring a toughened entry policy.
The Eritrean group appeared to number a dozen, including two women, according to activists and an Associated Press photographer. They were crowded near Israel’s new border fence. The group had been there for about a week, said Ran Cohen of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.
A spokesman said soldiers were giving the group water and food.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said they will not be allowed in, because that would encourage more African migrants to make the trip.
Israel has almost completed a barrier along 125 miles of its border with Egypt to block African migrants and militants from the Sinai.
Under international law, Israel cannot return people to Sudan and Eritrea because of their poor human rights records.