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Tunisia says one migrant dead, 22 missing in shipwreck off Italy’s Lampedusa island

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One migrant is dead and 22 others are missing after their boat sank in the Mediterranean sea off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Tunisian navy said Saturday.

Bad weather interrupted rescue operations around 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Lampedusa, the navy said, adding that the body of one migrant had been pulled from the water, while 22 were missing.

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The migrants said their boat had set off overnight Friday to Saturday in the Sidi Mansour area of Sfax province with 48 on board, according to the statement.

Twenty-five African migrants who were rescued, including six women, were taken to Tunisia, it added.

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Tunisia is just a few hundred kilometers from mainland Europe, and has long been a launchpad for illegal migration to the continent.

The number of migrants trying to cross to Europe from Tunisia has been on the rise.

The past year has seen a surge in boats trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to European Union border control agency Frontex.