JERUSALEM: Israel will grant citizenship to some of the estimated 300 refugees from Sudan’s blighted Darfur region who have already arrived here, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said Wednesday.

Sheetrit said he would work with the United Nations to set a quota of refugees who would be naturalized. While he estimates the number of Darfur refugees at 300, other government officials and refugee advocates have put the number at between 400 and 500.

Fighting between pro-government militias and rebels in the Western Sudanese region of Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million since February 2003.

The arrival in Israel of these displaced Darfurians has touched off hot debate over whether the Jewish state, founded after the Nazi genocide, has a duty to take in people fleeing persecution.

Human rights groups and high-profile figures like Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel have urged the Israeli government to give Darfurians a home