JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel sent 150 Sudanese migrants back to their home country.
The deportees, who left late Monday night, will fly through a third country on their way back. Sudan would not take them back directly since the African nation is technically at war with Israel.
Israeli officials stressed that each of the migrants had agreed to leave voluntarily. In addition to paying for their flights home, Israel also gave each returning family $500. Most of the migrants entering Israel are economic migrants, not refugees, according to reports.
The deportation was coordinated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Some 200 other Sudanese agreed to be repatriated and received stipends for doing so in recent months, Reuters reported.
In recent weeks, Israel has begun to make a greater effort to halt illegal African migration into Israel. The government recently approved the building of a detention center near the border with Egypt to hold and deport illegals, and last month Israel began construction of a barrier between parts of its border with Egypt to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country.