Sicilian officials find bodies of four migrants

Sicilian port authorities recovered the bodies of four more migrants Saturday, raising the number of people killed when their boat hit rough weather a week ago to 24, officials said.

Danilo Scandurla, an official from the port authority in Catania, said three bodies were found on beaches along the sea coast near Pozzallo, on Sicily's southern coast, while divers recovered the fourth in the water.

The boat hit bad weather about a week ago, forcing its occupants to abandon the ship and swim to shore. More than 170 migrants survived, and survivors told authorities they were from North Africa and that there had been some 200 people on board.

Thousands of hopeful immigrants make the trip between North Africa and Italy's southern coast each year on ill-equipped vessels. The trips are often organized by human traffickers operating in north African countries including Libya and Tunisia.

Police have arrested two men suspected of trying to smuggle the migrants. A third alleged smuggler was suspected of being among the dead, AP reports.

A. A.

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