Tunisia

Death toll from boat off Tunisia rises to 46

MNA International Desk: A boat carrying migrants toward Europe sank off the coast of Tunisia and at least 46 people drowned, though dozens more could be missing, the North African nation’s defense ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said 68 people were rescued overnight after the boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea near Kerkennah island, off Tunisia’s eastern coast. Authorities said the vessel was believed to have been carrying about 180 passengers, reported news agnecy.

Rachid Bouhoula, the defense ministry press officer, said a rescue and recovery operation continued in the waters around the island.

The ministry said earlier that those rescued included 61 Tunisians and seven people from other countries. In recent months, Tunisia increasingly has become a point of departure for Europe-bound migrants fleeing poverty and conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.

Earlier Sunday, Turkish officials reported that nine migrants, including six children, drowned when a boat capsized in the eastern Mediterranean near the town of Demre in the southern province of Antalya. Turkey’s coast guard rescued four others and a fifth migrant was saved by a passing fishing vessel. The migrants’ nationalities have not been identified.

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