Israel Border Guard sapper and robot
Israel Border Guard sapper and robotIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A new police unit has been formed to battle the skyrocketing crime rate among illegal migrants in south Tel Aviv, even as a violent new attack is reported over the weekend.

Fifty Border Police officers have been sent to provide additional security in the area as residents continue to report criminal incidents, many attributed to its significant population of illegal entrants, most of them men from Sudan and Eritrea. 

The officers' transfer comes on the same day that a new reported attack may further raise tensions in the area. A 16-year-old girl reported that a man attempted to rape her Saturday night in the stairwell of her building.

The girl's mother heard her screams and ran to help, prompting the attacker to turn and flee.

Sudanese and Eritrean men have been implicated in several high-profile rape cases in the area, including the recent attempted rape of a young girl in her bedroom at home. The crime rate among illegal migrants rose by 53.2% in 2012. There were 1,048 cases opened against Eritrean and Sudanese migrants over the year, and more cases that went unsolved.

There are an estimated 25,000 illegal African migrants living in southern Tel Aviv alone.

In recent months high-profile crimes committed by migrants have sparked protests among local Israelis. Some of the demonstrations have turned violent.

“People are losing patience,” local activist Ben Menachem told Arutz Sheva last Thursday. “There are violent incidents here on a regular basis. This violence is like gunpowder, in that it is likely to set off an explosion among residents.”

The new officers trained for three months for their new assignment, and are to be based at the Levinsky station.