Death toll rises to 42 in migrant shipwreck off Egypt

Cairo, Sep 22 (IANS/AKI) The number of migrants who perished in a shipwreck off Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Rosetta has reached 42, state-run daily Al-Ahram said on Thursday.

According to the state-owned MENA news agency, the boat was carrying 600 migrants. Its planned destination is still unknown.

Rescuers have saved 150 of the boat’s passengers, MENA said.

Wednesday’s tragedy came two days after Egyptian President and ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told a UN meeting that illegal immigration should be at the top of international priorities, Al-Ahram reported.

Egypt will combat illegal migration through updating existing anti-human trafficking legislation, and new legislation currently being drafted, Sisi reportedly said.

Egypt is currently sheltering five million refugees of different nationalities, Al-Ahram quoted Sisi as saying.

Egypt is hosting nearly 262,000 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya, with the number of unregistered refugees believed to be much higher, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Egypt by naval forces for attempting to migrate illegally in recent years, according to Al-Ahram.

–IANS/AKI

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