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Home World News Washington Post World News Lebanon buries dead in sinking migrant boat that killed 7 people

Lebanon buries dead in sinking migrant boat that killed 7 people

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TRIPOLI, Lebanon – Funerals were held across northern Lebanon on Monday for seven people who died when a boatload of migrants sank over the weekend as the Lebanese navy tried to force it back to shore.

The small vessel was carrying nearly 60 people — many times its capacity — when the disaster struck on Saturday night. The tragedy was the latest in a growing trend with mostly Lebanese and Syrians trying to travel from Lebanon to Europe in search of a better life.

The Navy has rescued 47 people and some are still missing. In a rare move, the British military assisted in search and rescue operations off the coast by deploying a helicopter to assist Lebanese forces.

Among those buried on Monday were Sarah Ahmed Talib and her 4-year-old daughter from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city.

“My brother and his wife are missing. We have seven people missing. And this is the funeral of my cousin’s wife and my cousin’s daughter,” said Abo Mohmoud, a relative. “The rest are still missing.”

Women wailed from balconies in Tripoli as bodies were carried to the mosque and bursts of gunfire rang out in mourning. A crying man carried the body of a child wrapped in white.

Dozens attended the funerals while Lebanese army personnel stood guard nearby.

The migrant ship had departed from the coastal town of Qalamoun on Saturday night, Lebanese officials said, adding that no precautions had been taken and no one was wearing life jackets when the boat was intended to carry just six people and capsized later that night.

Survivors blame the Lebanese navy for sinking the ship, saying a naval vessel rammed into the ship as it tried to force it back to shore.

An extraordinary cabinet meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, focusing on the boat incident and the security situation in various parts of the country.

Angry residents attacked a main army checkpoint in Tripoli on Sunday, throwing rocks at troops who responded by firing into the air. Some shops closed because angry men blocked several streets in Lebanon’s most impoverished city, Tripoli. There were no reports of injuries.

Since Lebanon’s economic collapse began in October 2019, hundreds of people have left on boats in hopes of a better life in Europe, paying smugglers thousands of dollars. Many have reached European countries, while others have been stopped by the Lebanese navy and forced to return home.

Several have died en route to Europe in the past three years.



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