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GENEVA (AP) — This could be the deadliest year ever for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
In the past week, as many as 700 people who were fleeing Africa for Europe died after two heavily loaded boats were wrecked. That's as many migrants as died during all of last year.
According to the International Organization for Migration and other officials, it would raise the total number of migrants killed on the Mediterranean this year to about 2,900.
The IOM says about 500 Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese are feared dead after their boat was rammed and sunk off the coast of Malta last week. Another 200 are feared dead in the wreck of a second boat that was carrying at least 250 African migrants to Europe when it capsized off the Libyan coast.
With the surge of conflicts in the Mideast and Africa this year, more migrants are attempting the risky voyages across the Mediterranean in hopes of getting to Italy's coastline and islands.
209-c-21-(John Heilprin (HYL'-prihn), AP correspondent)-"move the migrants"-AP correspondent John Heilprin reports last week's tragedy happened in what's been a particularly heavy year of attempted illegal migrations into Europe. (15 Sep 2014)
<<CUT *209 (09/15/14)££ 00:21 "move the migrants"
208-c-16-(John Heilprin (HYL'-prihn), AP correspondent)-"a commercial ship"-AP correspondent John Heilprin reports it's now thought that hundreds recently died trying to migrate illegally across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, victims of a shoddy boat and human traffickers who tried to overtake them. (15 Sep 2014)
<<CUT *208 (09/15/14)££ 00:16 "a commercial ship"
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