Hundreds of migrants believed dead after boat capsizes off Egypt's coast

Monday 18-04-2016 06:32 PM

Egypt's armed forces captures illegal migrants near Lake Burullus on Oct. 25, 2015 - Photo from the Armed Forces

CAIRO, Apr. 18 (Aswat Masriya) – Italy said on Monday that a boat capsized off Egypt's coast killing hundreds of migrants, official confirmation from Egypt and more details regarding the incident are yet to surface, Reuters reported.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters, "we are looking for more details and information but what is sure is that we are again with a tragedy in the Mediterranean exactly one year after the tragedy we had… in the Libyan waters."

An estimated 800 migrants drowned off the Libyan coast one year ago in what was considered the deadliest Mediterranean shipwreck in decades.  

A BBC Arabic report on Sunday said that more than 400 migrants, mostly Somalis, drowned in the Mediterranean as they attempted to flee to Europe.

The Somali ambassador to Egypt confirmed the shipwreck to the BBC.

"This is another strong reason for Europe to commit itself not in building walls but in strengthening our common commitment towards migration especially towards Africa," Gentiloni added.

Media official at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Marwa Hashim told Aswat Masriya that the Egyptian foreign ministry and the UNHCR offices in Italy  are communicating to arrive at the details of the shipwreck and determine the exact figures.   

Italy's coast guard said that six bodies had been recovered on Sunday and 108 migrants rescued from a semi-submerged rubber boat, Reuters reported.

An Egyptian foreign ministry official told Aswat Masriya that communication with the Italian authorities is underway to know the details of the incident and whether there were Egyptian nationals on board of the sunken boat, which is believed to have capsized in Egypt's territorial waters. 

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