At least 12 migrants, most of them Syrians, drown off Tunisia in shipwreck

At least 12 migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy on Friday, a civil protection official told Reuters.

The official added that the 12 bodies that were recovered off the coast of Nabeul were mostly of Syrian migrants. A search was still under way.

In recent months, several people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

Arrivals in Italy, one of the main migrant routes into Europe, had been falling in recent years, but numbers picked up again in 2021.