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Tunisia coastguard rescues 255 migrants

Migrants rescued by Tunisia's national guard during an attempted crossing of the Mediterranean by boat arrive at the port of el-Ketef in Ben Guerdane in southern Tunisia near the border with Libya on June 27, 2021 [FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images]
Migrants rescued by Tunisia's national guards on 27 June 2021 [FATHI NASRI/AFP/Getty Images]

The Tunisian coastguard yesterday announced that it rescued 255 migrants during 17 attempts to reach Italy on Friday night.

"During the night between Friday and Saturday, units of the National Guard's maritime regions in the coast and centre managed to thwart 17 stealth crossings and rescue 255 people trying to cross," National Guard spokesman Houcem Eddine Jebabli said in a statement.

Among the migrants, 170 were of sub-Saharan African nationalities and the rest were Tunisians.

The authorities seized a sum of "foreign currency" with the migrants, the value of which was not disclosed, according to the statement.

On Friday, the security authorities in Sousse governorate "caught five people who were preparing to carry out an operation to sneak across the maritime borders," according to a statement by Jebabli.

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Another statement said authorities had "rescued 22 illegal immigrants (with Tunisian nationality) on Saturday, including 3 women and 9 children, who were on a damaged boat and seeking help, east of the island of Quria (Monastir)."

With the improving weather conditions, the number of migration attempting to make the journey from Tunisia to Europe is increasing. Italy is one of the main entry points into Europe for North African migrants.

From the beginning of 2022 until 22 July, 34,000 people arrived by sea in Italy, compared to 25,500 in the same period in 2021, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.

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