Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

A representative of the Tunisian Red Crescent association checks bodies recovered from a boat carrying 86 migrants that capsized off the Tunisian coast while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, as they lie on a beach in Aghir in Tunisia’s southern island of Djerba on July 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2019
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Tunisia finds bodies of pregnant migrant, toddler after boat sinks

  • The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15The number of bodies retrieved from the water has reached 15
  • The latest tragedy came to light the same week as 44 migrants were killed in an air strike on their detention center in Libya

TUNIS: Tunisia’s Red Crescent said Sunday three more bodies had been retrieved off the country’s coast, including those of a pregnant woman and toddler, days after a boat carrying scores of migrants sank.
“The number of bodies retrieved (from the water) has reached 15,” said Red Crescent official Mongi Slim.
The bodies of a three-year-old and two women, one pregnant, were recovered Saturday night off the island of Djerba in southern Tunisia, Slim said.
On Saturday the Red Crescent said 12 bodies had been retrieved by the coast guard from waters off southern Tunisia that morning.
Including the corpse of a woman that the National Guard said it found on a beach off Zarzis on Friday, the total number of bodies recovered since the boat sank on Monday stands at 16.
A Malian survivor told the UN’s migration agency that 86 people had been on board the dinghy, which capsized.
“People were terrified as water started pouring in, some of them fell into the water. They stayed down there,” survivor Soleiman Coulibaly told AFP.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the UN’s International Organization for Migration, tweeted on Thursday that “about 80 migrants are feared dead.”
The Red Crescent and the navy said three Malians and an Ivorian were rescued on Wednesday by the coast guard, who had been alerted by local fishermen.
The Ivorian, however, died in hospital and one of the Malians has also been hospitalized in intensive care.
The boat tipped over only hours after setting out to sea from the Libyan town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, with the intention of reaching Italy.
Libya has in recent years been a major departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean.
Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in Libya, with many held in squalid detention facilities.
An air strike Tuesday on a migrant center in the capital Tripoli killed at least 53 people, according to the World Health Organization.


Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

Updated 25 min 44 sec ago

Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

  • Gantz is yet to respond to the approach by Netanyahu
  • The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday on his main rival, former general Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner.
A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party.
The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority.
“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said.
“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.”
On Wednesday, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government.” But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.