Update: 38 bodies recovered after migrant boat carrying 600 capsizes off Egypt

Wednesday 21-09-2016 09:12 PM

People gathering near the coast where the boat capsized on Sept. 21, 2016 - Reuters

CAIRO, Sept 21 (Aswat Masriya) - The number of bodies recovered from the Mediterranean Sea after a boat capsized off the coast of Egypt earlier on Wednesday increased to 38, according to a health official.

It was reported earlier today that 29 bodies were recovered from the sea. Of the 29 bodies, 18 were men, 10 were women and one was a child, Reuters reported.

The boat was carrying around 600 people, which represented "the largest illegal migration operation through the Kafr El-Sheikh coasts so far," state news agency MENA quoted a local official as saying. It was carrying Egyptian, Syrian and African migrants, security sources told the Reuters news agency.  

They are believed to have been heading to Italy, a main destination for illegal migrants across the Mediterranean. 

Meanwhile, 154 people aboard the ill-fated boat were arrested, seven of whom were wounded and thus transferred to a hospital, a security source told Aswat Masriya.

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered security forces to rapidly track and capture those responsible for the capsizing and ensure the provision of healthcare for the survivors.

Sherif mentioned that a draft law to combat illegal migration has been sent to parliament for discussion in the next legislative term that is set to start early October, according to a statement.

The draft sets harsher punishment for those involved in illegal migration attempts.

Egyptian authorities have announced thwarting several illegal migration attempts in the past few months, as hundreds have been arrested for attempting to exit the country illegally. Earlier in September, Egypt foiled an illegal migration attempt to Europe by 155 people. 

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