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Originally published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:33 AM

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Israel vows to repatriate African migrants

Israel's prime minister says thousands of Africans who have infiltrated into Israel will be sent back home.

The Associated Press

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JERUSALEM —

Israel's prime minister says thousands of Africans who have infiltrated into Israel will be sent back home.

Benjamin Netanyahu declared Wednesday that Israel has halted the flow of African migrants into Israel over the past seven months. He spoke while visiting the fence Israel built on border with Egypt to keep migrants out.

He said he will soon begin "repatriating the tens of thousands of infiltrators in Israel to their countries of origin."

About 60,000 Africans have entered Israel in recent years, some seeking asylum and others looking for work.

Sigal Rozen, whose group assists migrants, says it's unlikely Israel can repatriate them, since many come from conflict zones or countries that have no ties with Israel.

She says Netanyahu's pledge could be political posturing ahead of Jan. 22 elections.

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