Body of young child found off Greek island


ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The body of a young child was found in the Aegean Sea on Saturday, two weeks after two fatal accidents in the region involving boats loaded with migrants, Greek coastguard officials said.

The body was found off the island of Naxos, and authorities estimated on Saturday evening that the victim, who was 85 centimeters (33.5 inches), was around three years old.

The body will be transported to the city of Piraeus, a port in the capital Athens, for a forensic examination.

On Thursday, four other bodies belonging to a man, a woman and two preteen girls were found, three off Naxos and one off the nearby island of Paros.

On December 22, 12 people, all believed to be from Iraq, were rescued from a rubber dinghy off Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Athens. The bodies of three unidentified men were found at sea.

Survivors of the incident said at least 17 other people were missing.

Two days later, 41 people were rescued after a sailboat overturned carrying around 80 migrants northwest of Paros.

As Greece stepped up its patrols off its eastern Aegean islands near the Turkish coast, Turkey-based smugglers increasingly filled yachts with migrants and refugees and sent them to Italy. .

In 2021, more than 116,000 asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean to reach EU countries, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said. The agency said 55% traveled illegally to Italy, 35% to Spain and 7% to Greece, with the rest heading to Malta and Cyprus.


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