Tunisia arrests 72 Italy-bound illegal immigrants off coast

by IANS |

Tunis, June 15 (IANS) Tunisia arrested 72 migrants who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to enter Italy illegally, the Tunisian Ministry of Defence said.

They were arrested in two operations and are of various African nationalities, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, adding 42 of them were rescued by a Tunisian coastguard unit off the coastal city of Zarzis in northeastern Tunisia, Xinhua news agency reported.

The arrested migrants admitted they had sailed from the Libyan city of Zuwara a night earlier, according to the statement.

In another operation, the National Guard of Kerkennah Island in Sfax Province arrested 30 illegal immigrants, said the ministry.

Thousands of illegal immigrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean every year as Tunisia is one of the main points of access to Europe through irregular channels.

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