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Migrant Boat Sinks Near Tunisia: 17 Dead, 47 Missing, 11 Survive - 2004-10-04

Tunisian officials say they have recovered the bodies of 17 mostly Moroccan migrants who drowned when a boat carrying them to Italy sank off the Tunisian coast.

Authorities say 47 people remain missing. They say 10 Moroccans and one Tunisian were rescued from the vessel which sank Sunday just hours of leaving Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Italy is flying back to Libya illegal migrants who arrived on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. Officials say that since Saturday, boats carrying hundreds of would-be migrants bound for Europe have arrived on the small Italian island that lies close to northern Africa.

Italy may review the claims of some asylum-seekers, but officials say most should be returned to Libya, where they bought passage to Europe from smugglers.