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IOM: At Least 1,000 Migrants Died Last Week Trying To Cross Mediterranean


The death toll from migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean last week has been revised upward to at least 1,000.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) gave the new figure on May 31, after the UN refugee agency announced an estimate of 880 deaths.

IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said migrant flows to Italy had surged because smugglers in Libya used larger wooden boats capable of transporting up to 700 people.

This year is "proving to be particularly deadly" with 2,510 lives lost in shipwrecks and capsizing, against 1,855 in the same period in 2015, according to UNHCR spokesman William Spindler.

Meanwhile, Europol said Greek and Czech police arrested 19 people suspected of forging travel documents for migrants trying to enter Europe.

The European police agency said visas and passports were sold for up to 3,000 euros ($3,600) and sent across the EU, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa