People smugglers shot dead an Egyptian border guard and injured another in an exchange of gunfire near the Israeli frontier yesterday, security and medical sources said.
The smugglers clashed with border guards after they were intercepted trying to move African migrants across the sensitive border into the Jewish state. The smugglers and migrants then escaped into the Sinai desert, a security source said.
The guard, 20 year-old Mohamed Fikry Ahmed, died at the scene from a shot to the throat and his body was brought to Egypt’s Rafah hospital, where his colleague was being treated for a bullet wound to his thigh, Reuters reports.
Egypt has taken a tough line again smugglers and migrants seeking to move goods and people across the borders with both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Police shot dead at least 28 African migrants at the border last year and have killed at least seven migrants so far this year.
The government stepped up security measures against smugglers in April after prosecutors accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah of planning attacks in Egypt through a group of 49 men.
In the same month, security forces detained nine Bedouin in the Sinai Peninsula on suspicion of involvement in cross-border smuggling and arms dealing.
Violence between police and the formerly nomadic Bedouin flared last November when police shot dead four Bedouin and tribesmen briefly kidnapped a group of police.
Pic: Egyptian and Gaza border