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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 15:43 GMT
'Smugglers' shot in south Israel
map of Israel's border with Egypt
Israel's border with Egypt
Israeli police say they have shot dead an Egyptian smuggler and wounded another as they attempted to bring a shipment of weapons across the border.

The two men were among a group carrying 20 Kalashnikov assault rifles in the Negev desert near Israel's southern border with Egypt, according to police spokesman Yossi Kepel.

"A police unit intercepted a group of four smugglers in the Nitzana area", he said.

They had opened fire when police realised they were armed and had refused to stop, he added.

Smuggling crackdown

One man was killed, and another shot in the leg as he tried to escape.

The two others fled on foot.

Israel Radio said the wounded man was taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

The Israeli army has been making efforts to prevent arms trafficking from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

It has launched a series of raids near the Rafah border crossing, targeting tunnels used to smuggle weapons to Palestinian militant groups.

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