Israel is secretly transferring African asylum seekers to Uganda, Haaretz newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting a senior Israeli government official. JERUSALEM (Haaretz/AFP/Ma’an) — The paper said that, over the past month, dozens of people agreed to leave for Uganda and some had already departed.

Last June, a government official told the Israeli Supreme Court agreement had been reached with an unnamed third country prepared to take in Africans seeking asylum in Israel.

Interior Minister Gideon Saar said last month 1,500 Africans who entered Israel illegally were due to leave the country by the end of February. That compared with 765 in January, 325 in December 2013 and 63 in November.

In 2012, rising tensions over the growing number of illegal migrants exploded into violence when a protest in south Tel Aviv turned ugly. Demonstrators smashed African shops and property, chanting ‘Blacks out!’

Thousands of asylum seekers have demonstrated recently outside parliament and migrant detention centers to protest immigration policy.

Photo: African asylum seekers, who entered Israel illegally via Egypt, stage a
protest outside the Holot detention center in the southern Negev Desert
on Feb. 17, 2014.

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