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Israel to build detention centre for illegal migrants


Jerusalem : The Israeli government Sunday approved a plan to build a detention centre to house migrants who cross illegally into the country from Egypt in search of work.

The centre will provide the migrants with shelter, food and medical services until they are sent back to their countries of origin.

Addressing ministers at the start of a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told them that “we must stop the mass entry of illegal infiltrators who are looking for work”.

The wave of illegal migrants across the border threatened Israeli jobs and was changing the character of the country, he added.

“We will decide today on housing facilities similar to those in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and other countries,” he said, adding that Israel would also “repatriate the infiltrators to their countries of origin and to intermediate countries from which they will make their way to their countries of origin”.

Netanyahu said that Israel did not intend “to arrest refugees from war” and would continue to allow them to enter the country.

But the activist group Physicians for Human Rights Organization said in response to the cabinet decision that “the imprisonment of victims of torture, rape, mass murders and genocide, is a mark of Cain to the State of Israel”.

Thousands of migrants cross into Israel via the Sinai peninsula border every year, smuggled by Arab Bedouin.

Construction of a fence along the 240-km-long border began last week.