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Israeli premier: Efforts to block migrants worked

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November 4, 2012 11:42 AM EST | AP


JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister says his government has successfully halted the flow of African migrants sneaking into Israel from Egypt.

Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday that the flow of migrants has been reduced to a trickle, and the few who entered Israel illegally in October were detained.

"One may explicitly say that we have blocked infiltration and now we must focus ... on repatriating the infiltrators," he said.

While few are now entering, some 60,000 Africans have already reached Israel. Many seek work, while others have requested political asylum. The influx has caused tensions in some neighborhoods and raised fears that the Africans will undermine the country's Jewish character.

Israel is building a fence along its border with Egypt, has detained thousands and offered incentives for others to leave.