|African migrants sit near the border fence between Israel and Egypt near the Israeli village of Be'er Milcha September 6, 2012 (Photo by Reuters)|
Dozens of Ethiopian nationals were arrested days earlier after sneaking into Egypt through southern border in a bid to reach Israel for work
Egypt on Sunday deported 77 Ethiopians for attempting to illegally migrate through the country to Israel, state news agency MENA and Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.
The deportees entered the Egyptian governorate of Aswan through the country's southern frontier with Sudan. They were arrested two weeks ago in Aswan but only deported on Sunday following a liaison with the Ethiopian embassy in Egypt, MENA said.
Security sources at the airport said the deportees included three children. Interrogations showed they were seeking to land in the Sinai Peninsula and then cross over the eastern border into Israel with plans to work.
Ties between Egypt and Ethiopia have soured after the horn of African country began constructing a controversial hydroelectric dam that Egypt fears will substantially harm its share of the Nile River, the country's main source of potable water.
Egypt's authorities often repatriate African nationals attempting to infiltrate Israel through Egypt's borders to seek jobs there.