Italy Detains Six Suspected People Traffickers

Italy detains six suspected Egyptian people traffickers

Posted : Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:46:03 GMT
Author : DPA

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Agrigento, Sicily – Italian authorities have detained seven men – six Egyptians and one Palestinian – suspected of attempting to smuggle by sea over 90 would-be immigrants into Italy earlier this month. The seven who were arrested on Thursday allegedly commandeered a vessel carrying 98 passengers intercepted by the Italian coastguard off the southern shores of Sicily on November 3.

The six Egyptians were identified in an ANSA news agency report as El Siedi Fayez, 50, Haraz Ramadan, 20, El Madi Saaid, 24, Abo Saad Farid, 51, Mohamed Mohamed Salem, 28, Arafa Nasim, 29. The Palestinian was identified as Mohamed Hamada Hamada, 48.

The seven face charges related to facilitating illegal immigration.

Scores of people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to reach Italian shores illegally over recent weeks, often with tragic consequences. The bodies of 22 Egyptian would-be immigrants who drowned as they tried to enter Italy illegally were returned to Egypt on Sunday.

Eleven lost their lives when their boat sank off the shores of Syracuse in Sicily, while the others are believed to have died in a botched attempt to land in Calabria, southern Italy. News reports have said that over 125 people are still missing.

Egyptian authorities have in recent weeks arrested at least 12 people suspected of facilitating people trafficking between Egypt and Italy.

Each year thousands of would-be immigrants from Africa and Asia try to enter Europe illegally by crossing the Mediterranean Sea and attempting to land on Italy9s extensive coastline.

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