56 Egyptians arrested at Sallum border crossing over “illegal immigration”
illegal immigration at the Egypt-Libya Sallum Crossing - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Authorities at the Egypt-Libya Sallum Crossing on Friday have arrested 56 Egyptians allegedly attempted to illegally cross into the Libyan territories through desert routes, Youm7 reported.

Officials also said the crossing received 365 others fleeing mounting unrest in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi Friday.

This sort of arrests is frequent at Egypt’s borders, and is part of a campaign by security authorities to combat “illegal immigration.” Hundreds of migrants, including foreigners are being stopped at the crossings on a near-daily basis.

Since the beheading of 20 Egyptian Copts in mid-February by Libya’s Islamic State (IS) group, some 47,464 Egyptian nationals have fled the country.

There were subsequent retaliatory airstrikes by the Egyptian army on the group’s hotbeds in Derna. According to Egyptian officials, the airstrikes have claimed lives of dozens of the militants.

Libya has been dragged to security turmoil since its uprising in 2011, while now, wide swaths of the oil-rich country is under the control of Islamist militias that pushed the internationally-recognized Libyan government to the east, near the borders with Egypt.

Many Egyptians, however, are still risking their lives to travel “illegally” to Libya, trying to make a better life. At least one million Egyptians have fled Libya in 2011 turmoil; the country was one of the biggest destinations for Egyptian laborers.

Additional reporting by Hassan Mashaly

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