Lebanon buries dead in shipwreck of a migrant boat that killed 7

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TRIPOLI, Lebanon – On Monday, funerals were held across northern Lebanon for seven people who were killed when a boat full of migrants sank over the weekend as the Lebanese navy tried to force it back to shore.

The small vessel carried nearly 60 people – many times its capacity – when the disaster occurred on Saturday night. The tragedy was the latest in a growing trend that mostly involved Lebanese and Syrians trying to travel to Europe from Lebanon in search of better lives.

The fleet rescued 47 people and some are still missing.

Among those killed Monday were Sarah Ahmed Talib and her four-year-old daughter from the Bab al-Tabbaneh district of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city.

Women moaned from balconies in Tripoli as the bodies were carried to the mosque and gunshots erupted in mourning. Dozens attended the funerals.

The migrant vessel was set off from the coastal town of Qalamoun on Saturday night, Lebanese officials have said, adding that no precautions were taken and no one was wearing life jackets as the boat was only to transport six people who capsized later in the night.

Survivors blame the Lebanese navy for sinking the ship, saying a naval vessel hit the vessel while trying to force it back to shore.

Angry residents on Sunday attacked one of the army’s main checkpoints in Tripoli, throwing stones at troops who responded by firing into the air. Some shops closed as angry men blocked several streets in Tripoli, Lebanon’s poorest city. There were no reports of injuries.

Since Lebanon’s economic meltdown began in October 2019, hundreds have been discharged on the boats in hopes of a better life in Europe and paid smugglers thousands of dollars. Many have reached European countries, while others have been stopped and forced to return home by the Lebanese navy.

Several have lost their lives on the way to Europe over the past three years.

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