Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

A representative of the Tunisian Red Crescent association checks bodies recovered from a boat carrying 86 migrants that capsized off the Tunisian coast while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, as they lie on a beach in Aghir in Tunisia’s southern island of Djerba on July 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2019
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Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

  • The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15
  • The latest tragedy came to light the same week as 44 migrants were killed in an air strike on their detention center in Libya

TUNIS: Tunisia’s Red Crescent said Sunday three more bodies had been retrieved off the country’s coast, including those of a pregnant woman and toddler, days after a boat carrying scores of migrants sank.
“The number of bodies retrieved (from the water) has reached 15,” said Red Crescent official Mongi Slim.
The bodies of a three-year-old and two women, one pregnant, were recovered Saturday night off the island of Djerba in southern Tunisia, Slim said.
On Saturday the Red Crescent said 12 bodies had been retrieved by the coast guard from waters off southern Tunisia that morning.
Including the corpse of a woman that the National Guard said it found on a beach off Zarzis on Friday, the total number of bodies recovered since the boat sank on Monday stands at 16.
A Malian survivor told the UN’s migration agency that 86 people had been on board the dinghy, which capsized.
“People were terrified as water started pouring in, some of them fell into the water. They stayed down there,” survivor Soleiman Coulibaly told AFP.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration, tweeted on Thursday that “about 80 migrants are feared dead.”
The Red Crescent and the navy said three Malians and an Ivorian were rescued on Wednesday by the coast guard, who had been alerted by local fishermen.
The Ivorian, however, died in hospital and one of the Malians has also been hospitalized in intensive care.
The boat tipped over only hours after setting out to sea from the Libyan town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, with the intention of reaching Italy.
Libya has in recent years been a major departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean.
Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in Libya, with many held in squalid detention facilities.
An air strike Tuesday on a migrant center in the capital Tripoli killed at least 53 people, according to the World Health Organization.


Egypt says security forces kill 11 militants in Sinai

Updated 20 August 2019
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Egypt says security forces kill 11 militants in Sinai

  • The militants were killed in a shootout during a raid on their hideout near a police station in the provincial capital El-Arish

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces killed 11 Islamist militants from a local affiliate of the Daesh group based in the restive North Sinai region, the interior ministry said Tuesday.
The militants, armed with weapons and explosives, were killed in a shootout during a raid on their hideout near a police station in the provincial capital El-Arish, the ministry said in a statement.
According to intelligence from the national security department, the militants used the hideout as “a base to launch their hostile operations,” it added.
Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai, which escalated following the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi following mass protests.
Since then, hundreds of police officers and soldiers have been killed in extremist attacks.
In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against the militants, focusing mainly on North Sinai.
Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since, according to a tally based on statements by the armed forces.
No independently verified death toll is available and the region is largely cut off to journalists.
However the Egyptian government has recently begun organizing occasional media visits, closely supervised by the military.