Lebanon turns back 53 people trying to leave illegally by boat

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2015 8:05 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese army said on Wednesday its naval forces returned to shore a boat carrying 53 people trying to leave the country illegally from the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

More than half the people returned were Palestinians, as well as 14 Syrians and eight Lebanese.

"There were 53 people on a boat that fits 15 people. The boat has been returned - with all people on board - to the Lebanese shore and an investigation has been opened," the army said in a statement.

Earlier this month, at least five members of a Lebanese family drowned and others were missing after the boat carrying them from Turkey to Greece sank in the Mediterranean.

Many of the hundreds of thousands of people who have made the dangerous sea crossing to the Greek Mediterranean islands have been fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.

(Editing by Dominic Evans)