Cairo is investigating the deaths of Egyptians found in the Libyan desert and believed to have died during an illegal attempt to migrate to Libya, a statement from the foreign ministry read on Saturday.
The Egyptian Embassy in Libya, currently operating from Cairo, was informed by Libyan Red Cross sources that 19 bodies were found in the desert area between Tobruk and Ajdabiya, the statement added.
Only seven bodies were identified -- those who carried their Egyptian identification cards. Authorities are currently working to identify the rest.
Egyptian authorities, according to the statement, coordinated with Libyan authorities to transfer the bodies to Egypt.
The seven identified hailed from Upper Egypt’s Assiut and Minya governorates and the Delta’s Kafr El-Sheikh governorate.
The ministry said that the illegal migration attempt was being controlled by gangs active in that area.
Despite a warning from the Egyptian government against travel to Libya, the country is still frequently used as a transit point for migrants from Egypt and other nations seeking to navigate the Mediterranean for Europe. Egypt shares more than 1,000 kilometres of border with Libya.