File - African migrants lie on benches in a bus stop outside Holot, Israel's new Negev desert detention centre January 30, 2014. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
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A compound of one-story buildings deep in the southern Israeli desert is now home to some 400 African migrants who face the prospect of being held in custody indefinitely.Israel opened the Holot complex in December after its Supreme Court stopped the practice of jailing illegal migrants for up to three years in regular prisons.More than 50,000 Africans – mainly Sudanese and Eritreans – have crossed into Israel surreptitiously through a once-porous, and now fenced, Egyptian border in the past eight years.Rather than conduct outright deportations, Israel is trying to coax migrants to return home voluntarily – including offering a cash incentive – or persuade third countries to accept them.Holot has a capacity to hold more than 3,000 inmates and human rights groups say at least 2,000 more migrants have received summonses to report there by next month.Solomon Hagos, 25, said he has been in detention in Israel since he entered illegally 18 months ago.Robel Yohanns, 23, of Eritrea, was more hopeful than most of the detainees, however.
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