icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Israel closes desert detention center in migrant expulsion plan

Israel has closed a desert detention center for migrants as part of its plan for the mass expulsion of thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese who entered the country illegally, officials said on Thursday. The Holot facility was closed the previous afternoon, ahead of a midnight deadline, immigration authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP. In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the implementation of the program to remove migrants, giving them a choice between leaving voluntarily or facing indefinite imprisonment with eventual forced expulsion. Since then, some Holot inmates have been transferred to the nearby Saharonim prison. Others who had submitted asylum requests before January 1 were reportedly released pending a decision. According to Haddad, 300 people had been freed after agreeing to leave the Jewish state.