JERUSALEM, July 12 (Reuters) - Unidentified arsonists set fire on Thursday to the Jerusalem home of Eritrean migrants, injuring three in what Israeli police said appeared to have been a racist attack.

Street violence has surged in recent months against Africans who cross, without permits, into Israel across the porous Egyptian border in search of work or asylum.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said an apartment in a west Jerusalem market district was set alight overnight, and that one Eritrean occupant suffered serious burns while two others were treated for smoke inhalation.

"Obviously it seems that they were targeted as Eritreans," Rosenfeld said, adding that an investigation was under way.

The Israeli firefighting service said two of the victims were a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy and her husband.

There are more than 60,000 African migrants in Israel, jarring its already ethnically fraught population of 7.8 million and prompting deportation drives by the conservative government.

Some Israelis see a demographic and economic crisis in the migrant influx, while others say the Jewish state, born after the Holocaust, has a responsibility to offer foreigners sanctuary. (Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Loading Slideshow...
  • An African boy is lifted by a volunteer to say goodbye to South Sudanese on board a bus in the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, June 17, 2012 before leaving to Ben Gurion airport to leave for South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Nyot, 4, a South Sudanese girl, looks out of the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, June 17, 2012 before boarding on a bus to Ben Gurion airport to leave for South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • South Sudanese migrant workers wave as they board a bus in the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, June 17, 2012 before leaving to Ben Gurion airport to leave for South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • South Sudanese on board a bus wave the national flag as they drive from the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, June 17, 2012 to Ben Gurion airport to leave for South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • An African man gives a thumbs up to South Sudanese on board a bus in the bus terminal in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, June 17, 2012 before leaving to Ben Gurion airport to leave for South Sudan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Adhar, a South Sudan migrant worker stands at a South Sudanese migrants workers center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • A migrant worker from South Sudan walks inside the South Sudanese migrants workers center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)