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At least 17 dead in latest migrant crossing disaster

A BOAT carrying dozens of migrants has capsized off the coast of Libya, with at least 17 people presumed dead, officials said on Monday.

It is the latest disaster in the Mediterranean involving people seeking a better life in Europe.

International Organisation for Migration spokeswoman Safa Msheli said that the accident happened on Sunday night off the western town of Zuwara.

She said that about 70 people were in the rubber dinghy and that the Libyan coastguard had managed to rescue 51 Egyptians.

One body was recovered and at least 16 other people were missing and presumed to have drowned, Ms Msehli said.

About 80 migrants were presumed dead in two separate shipwrecks off Libya last month.

There has been a spike in crossings and attempted crossings from Libya in recent months, officials report.

Amnesty International has reported that more than 7,000 people intercepted at sea were forcibly returned to detention camps in Libya in the first six months of this year.

The deadliest shipwreck so far this year took place April 22 off Libya, when 130 people drowned despite the ship sending multiple distress calls.

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