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Italian police intercept 79 Egyptian immigrants in Sicily

Italy reports a jump in undocumented immigrants from Egypt and North African countries post-Arab Spring uprisings

AFP, Tuesday 1 May 2012
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Italian police said on Tuesday they had intercepted 79 immigrants from Egypt and arrested 15 presumed people smugglers near the southern Sicilian port of Trapani.

About 30 of the immigrants were travelling on a rubber dinghy and the others in a fishing vessel, a statement said.

Some of them were suffering from hypothermia and were temporarily housed in a stadium.

Greece and Italy are the two main entry points for undocumented immigrants into the European Union and Italy, in particular, has seen a spike in arrivals over the past year following the Arab Spring revolts in North Africa.

Hundreds of migrants have been killed over the past year, often as a result of sinkings and capsizings of unseaworthy fishing boats from North Africa.

Migrants are also sometimes thrown into the sea just off the shore so that the traffickers can make a speedy exit without being spotted by coastguards.

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