Tunisia coast guard rescues 48 migrants from sinking boat

Tunisians regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe, but departures peaked last September. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 17 February 2018
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Tunisia coast guard rescues 48 migrants from sinking boat

TUNIS: Tunisia’s coast guard has rescued 48 Tunisian migrants whose boat began sinking as they tried to reach Italy by sea, the interior ministry said Saturday.
A patrol spotted the vessel on Friday night off Jebeniana, 210 kilometers (130 miles) south of Tunis.
The nine-meter (30-foot) craft “was sinking after taking on water,” the ministry said in a statement.
The passengers were all Tunisians aged 16 to 40, from the governorates of Medenine and Sfax, it added.
Tunisians regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe, but departures peaked last September.
According to NGOs, the uptick reflected frustration among young people hard hit by unemployment.
In October, a collision between a migrant boat and a Tunisian military ship left at least 44 dead, in what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called a “national disaster.”


Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

Updated 18 min 24 sec ago
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Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

  • The rocket hit Burjeisa residential and operations headquarters west of Basra
  • Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile

BASRA, Iraq: A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three people, Iraq’s military said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. It came after two separate attacks in as many days on bases housing US military personnel in Iraq, as tension rose between the United States and Iran.
The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, according to police and a statement released by the military. Police earlier said two Iraqi workers were wounded.
The United States evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy last month, citing unspecified threats from Iran against US interests in neighboring Iraq, where Tehran supports some Shiite militias.
Wednesday’s incident came just as Exxon staff who were also evacuated after the diplomats’ departure had begun to return to Basra.
A security source said Exxon was evacuating 21 foreign staff immediately by plane to Dubai.
Oil officials said operations including exports from southern Iraq were not affected by the incident.
Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italy’s Eni SpA, the oil officials said.
The rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile, the military said. Police said it landed 100 meters from the part of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.
Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.
Washington has ramped up sanctions pressure on Iran in recent months and says it has sent additional forces to the region over tension with the Islamic Republic.
It blames Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. Tehran denies it was involved.
Both sides say they do not want war, but analysts warn such incidents could escalate violence in the region.