Tunisian authorities say hundreds of migrants have drowned off its coast in the first half of this year.

Exact figures vary, with Reuters reporting that 901 bodies had been recovered from January to 20 July, while a separate source told the AFP the number stands at 789.

The North African country has become the main departure point for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Some 75,065 boat migrants had reached Italy by 14 July against 31,920 in the same period last year, according to Reuters citing official data – with more than half of them leaving from Tunisia.

Tunisia and the EU recently signed a deal to tackle illegal migration.


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