Egyptian naval forces thwart illegal immigration attempt - army spokesman

Sunday 01-05-2016 09:47 PM

Migrants, who are trying to reach Greece, are seen onboard a capsized sailboat, as others are seen in the water trying to reach the coast of the southeastern island of Rhodes April 20, 2015. REUTERS/Michalis Loizos

CAIRO, May 1 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian naval forces thwarted an illegal immigration attempt off Egypt's northern coast heading to Europe, the army spokesman said on Sunday.

In a statement published on Facebook, the army spokesman said that, while naval forces were securing the Mediterranean coast, a fishing boat sailing north of Abu Qir was suspected.

The naval forces found on board the fishing boat 159 illegal immigrants from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Eritrea and Comoros, in addition to three crew members, the statement read.

Last April, Italy said that a boat capsized off Egypt's coast killing hundreds of migrants.

Conflicts and dire economic conditions in the Middle East and African countries pushed millions of migrants and refugees to cross over to Europe to flee poverty and war.  

Last September, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a statement that "Europe is facing its biggest refugee influx in decades."

Guterres said then that so far more than 300,000 people have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea out of whom over 2,600 did not survive.

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