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Escaping Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians drown

Details are emerging concerning the migrant boat that sank this week near Malta's shores, loaded with Palestinian children and families who tried to escape misery in Gaza for a new life in Europe.
A group of Palestinians prepare to throw roses in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Gaza City on September 18, 2014 in mourning over the loss of fellow Palestinians who had boarded a boat to Europe that sank off Malta last week. In one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks on record, the boat, with 500 people on board, was intentionally capsized by traffickers as it made its way from Egypt to Italy. Only 10 people are known to have survived, among them four Palestinians from the 100 Gazans believed to ha

The Gaza-based human rights organization Al-Damir (meaning "conscience” in Arabic) has since Sept. 17 been gathering reports and testimonies about the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian refugees off the island of Malta. The refugees left Gaza through a tunnel to Egypt, and boarded a migrant boat in the hopes of reaching Europe and making a new life for themselves. But smugglers deliberately rammed their boat and most of them drowned.

According to reports reaching the organization, some 500 migrants were on the boat when it sank, roughly 400 of them refugees from the Gaza Strip. Only a few survived the tragic accident, picked up by merchant ships sailing in the area, and recounted their ordeal.

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