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EUROPE >3 migrants die as boat sinks on river marking Turkey-Greece border

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Three migrants were killed when a boat carrying at least eight people sank on the Maritza River in northwestern Turkey early on Feb. 22, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Eight migrants of Pakistani origin were trying to cross the Maritza River that mostly marks the border between Turkey and Greece with a rubber dinghy when their boat capsized around the middle of the river near the İpsala district of Edirne province. 

Three of the migrants were killed when the boat overturned, while five others were rescued by Turkish security forces and fishermen. 

The survivors were taken to hospitals in Edirne’s Enez and Kesan districts. The bodies of the three people were also pulled from the water.

Meanwhile, the Italian Coast Guard rescued about 630 migrants off the coast of Libya who were trying to cross the Mediterranean, Agence France-Presse reported on Feb. 21.

The two rescue operations came as the bodies of 74 migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe washed up on a beach west of the Libyan capital, the Red Crescent said on Feb. 21.

The Italian Coast Guard said it mounted operations to rescue two drifting vessels, a large boat and a rubber raft.

In the absence of an army or a regular police force in Libya, several militias act as coast guards but are often accused themselves of complicity or even involvement in the people-smuggling business.

The number of attempted crossings has surged this year, with most departures taking place from the west of Libya, from where Italy is just 300 kilometers away.

February/22/2017

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