More migrant bodies wash up on Libyan beaches

ZUWARAH, Libya – The bodies of 132 migrants trying to reach Europe have been found on western Libyan beaches over the past 4 days, the Red Crescent and a local official said Sunday, June 5.

All except 3 washed up on beaches in the town of Zuwarah, while the rest were found on a beach in Mellitah 20 kilometers (12 miles) further east.

"The total number of migrant bodies found on the beaches of Zuwarah since Thursday has gone up to 129," Red Crescent spokesman Mohammad al-Misrati told AFP.

He said 117 bodies were found on Thursday, June 2, confirming earlier reports, and said 12 more were found on Friday, June 3.

Zuwarah council member Khaled Ben Khalifa said 3 other bodies washed up on a beach in Mellitah, near a gas plant, bringing the total to 132.

People smugglers have exploited the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 uprising that overthrew dictator Moamer Kadhafi to traffic migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

It is a lucrative business for the smugglers who cram migrants into boats that are small and unsafe for the perilous journey to Italy just 300 kilometers (190 miles) from Libya's shores.

Thousands of migrants try each year to make the crossing, but many drown when their boats founder. –