Egypt makes new arrests over migrant deaths off Italy

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CAIRO, Nov 6 (Reuters) Egyptian police arrested eight men today for their suspected role in organising boat crossings for illegal migrants in which at least 21 people drowned off the Italian coast, a security source said.

The source said three of the men arrested owned one of the two boats involved in the incident, while another four crewed the boat.

All were arrested in the Nile Delta province of Kafr el-Sheikh.

An eighth man, arrested in Beheira province, confessed to organising the crossing in exchange for money, and belonged to a human trafficking organisation, the source said.

Yesterday, state news agency MENA said police had arrested four men in connection with the same case.

The Egyptian migrants drowned in two separate incidents between October 27 and 28. Twelve people drowned off the Sicilian town of Siracusa and nine drowned off the province of Calabria.

The Italian coastguard said it had no information to support one claim of up to 140 dead, and Italian media reported that many aboard the boats were believed to have swum to safety.

The source added that prosecutors have issued warrants for another 15 men wanted for the case.

REUTERS NY SK RAI2102

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