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Tunisian Authorities Rescue 1,800 Illegal Migrants off Shores

Tunisian officials retrieved two bodies and rescued 1,806 others off the country’s coast during a major operation over the weekend. 

The Tunisian National Guard said in a statement that they foiled 59 attempts to illegally cross the sea borders over the weekend.

This large-scale action resulted in the rescue of 1,806 migrants, the vast majority of whom come from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The authorities captured 24 smugglers and intermediaries who were wanted for their roles in orchestrating these illegal migrant activities.

Tunisia has become a major node on the migratory route to Europe, with parts of its coastline less than 150 kilometers from the Italian island of Lampedusa. 

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of migrants seeking to leave Tunisia for Italy, particularly from the city of Sfax, which is now regarded as the epicenter of these illegal crossings. 

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, a migration-focused NGO, reports a grim toll: more than 1,300 irregular migrants of various nationalities died, and 1,793 others were reported missing off Tunisia’s coast in 2023 alone, as they attempted to reach Europe clandestinely.