DNA tests on 5 bodies washed up on shores of Lebanon
DNA tests were on Thursday being carried out on five bodies washed up on Lebanon’s northern coast. Examinations were expected to reveal if the dead were among the latest victims of a migrant boat tragedy or some of the nine people still missing following the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast.
The bodies of two children from an illegal boat full of people fleeing Lebanon for Cyprus were among those recently swept ashore.
The vessel, capable of carrying a maximum of 30 passengers, had set out for Cyprus from Al-Burj beach on Sept. 7 with 50 individuals on board, most of them Lebanese from impoverished neighborhoods in Tripoli along with two Syrian families.
A 20-month-old boy reportedly died in his mother’s arms before his father put his body into the sea.
After sailing for two hours, the boat’s illegal handler abandoned the passengers taking with him their belongings including food, drinks, and mobile phones. The boat drifted in the Mediterranean for five days and a number of bodies have since been found on the Lebanese coast. A 20-month-old boy reportedly died in his mother’s arms before his father put his body into the sea. Others vanished after attempting to swim to safety although the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force pulled one young man alive from the water and was able to rescue those who had stayed on board. On Thursday, a security meeting chaired by Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed an increase in illegal attempts to help people flee Lebanon by boat.
Aoun called for “combating the networks that organize this type of transport across the sea, which is against the law, and taking appropriate measures in this regard.”