ZARZIS, Tunisia

At least 17 Bengali migrants drowned off Tunisia’s coast on Thursday while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, the Tunisian Red Crescent said.

Coast guards, in cooperation with the Libyan Navy, also managed to rescue 366 other migrants after their boat broke out off Tunisia’s Zarzis coast, Munji Salim of the Tunisian Red Crescent said in a statement.

The migrant boat set off from Libyan shores to Europe with around 400 migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, on board along with migrants from Syria, Mali, Eritrea and Sudan.

Every year, thousands of migrants use Tunisia and Libya as a gateway to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in overcrowded boats, often dying in the process.

Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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