The bodies of 6 migrants were found on a Sicilian beach after a boat carrying Syrian and Egyptian migrants was shipwrecked.
A fishing boat from North Africa, carrying migrants from Syria and Egypt, ran aground 50 feet from the shore of Catania, Sicily. While 120 people successfully made it to shore, six drowned, including an adolescent boy. All the victims were thought to be under 30.
Calm Mediterranean waters in recent days has seen an upsurge in crossing attempts. Another boat carrying 90 people successfully landed further down the Sicilian coast in Syracuse. Authorities said a migrant boat had never attempted landing in Catania, suggesting it had lost its way.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 32,000 illegal migrants and asylum seekers landed in Italy and Malta in 2013, two-thirds of whom have applied for refugee status. In 2012, 500 people were reported dead or missing at sea in attempts to reach Europe.
A boat capsized on its way to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the target destination of many asylum seekers from Africa. The boat originated in Libya and most of the passengers are believed to come from Eritrea and Somalia. At least 359 people died, and 155 people were rescued.
The European Commission -- the executive and lawmaking arm of the European Union -- will propose a search-and-rescue mission running from Cyprus to Spain that will try to track and intercept migrant boats from North Africa. The mission would be carried out by Frontex, the EU's external border agency.
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