Egypt seizes boats carrying more than 200 migrants

Seventeen crew members were arrested during the operation off the coast of second city Alexandria

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The Egyptian navy has seized three fishing boats in the Mediterranean carrying 228 migrants and arrested 17 crew members, the military said on Sunday.

“Naval forces, as part of their mission to secure the Mediterranean coast, spotted three suspicious fishing boats off the coast of Alexandria,” the military said on its Facebook page.

“While inspecting them, they found, in addition to 17 crew, 228 people of different nationalities who were trying to emigrate illegally from Egypt,” the statement said.

It did not disclose the identities of the migrants or of the crew, but said they were taken to a naval base in Alexandria. It also did not say when the operation took place.

Pictures posted online by the military showed men, who appeared to be African, sitting in a docked boat or on the ground of what seemed to be a harbour.

In one picture a soldier bandaged the foot of a man and in another a soldier handed out plastic water bottles.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR on Saturday said 366,402 migrants had crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with 2,800 dying or going missing en route.