Three people, believed to be immigrants, were injured Monday in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops as they tried to sneak across the border with Egypt into southern Israel, the military said.
"Soldiers identified approximately 24 infiltrators approaching the security fence. They acted according to the rules of engagement and fired towards the infiltrators who returned fire," a spokeswoman told AFP.
"During the exchange of fire, three infiltrators were injured," she said, using Israel's euphemism for Africans trying to enter Israel illegally, either for work or to seek political asylum.
"We evacuated them to an Israeli hospital," she said, without saying how badly they were hurt.
Since the start of January there had been "25 infiltration attempts," she said.
Interior ministry statistics show there are more than 60,000 African immigrants living illegally in Israel, with most of them gravitating towards the impoverished neighbourhoods of the Hatikva area, in the south of Tel Aviv.
Soaring tensions over the rising number of Africans boiled over last week when an anti-migrant demonstration turned violent, with hundreds of Israelis rampaging through the streets with sticks and stones, attacking African-run shops and property.
Residents had been protesting against the ever-growing wave of illegal immigrants from African countries, many of whom are seeking refuge from their homelands, as petty crime rates are on the rise.
Israel has recently constructed a massive detention facility for immigrants near the Sinai border, and is close to completing a 240-kilometre steel fence along the frontier to cut down on the number of immigrants coming in, which it has frequently said poses a threat to the Jewish character of the state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to calm the tensions in southern Tel Aviv, over the controversial African migrant issue. “There is no room for the types of comments and action we saw last night (Wednesday). I say these things to the general public and to the residents of south Tel Aviv whose pain we understand: We will solve this problem in a responsible manner”, Netanyahu stated.