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At least 17 Bangladeshi migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Italy from Libya, while more than 380 were rescued by the coast guard, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Wednesday.
The boat had departed from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast, carrying migrants from Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Mali and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organization said.
“17 Bengali died and more than 380 other migrants were rescued in a boat en route from the Libyan Zuwara to Europe,” said Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official.
Several people have drowned off the Tunisian coast in recent months, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings into Europe from Tunisia and Libya to Italy as the weather improves.
Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
The number of arrivals in Italy, one of the main migrant routes to Europe, had declined in recent years, but increased again in 2021.
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