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Victims of Egypt migrant shipwreck tragedy 'deserved to die' Open in fullscreen

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Victims of Egypt migrant shipwreck tragedy 'deserved to die'

Rescue workers have so far recovered 168 bodies from the shipwreck [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 September, 2016

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A controversial Egyptian MP has said that the hundreds of victims of this week's migrant shipwreck off Egypt's Mediterranean coast "deserved to die" and "do not deserve sympathy".

An Egyptian member of parliament has said that the hundreds of victims of this week's migrant shipwreck off Egypt's Mediterranean coast "deserved to die" and "do not deserve sympathy".

Elhamy Agina on Wednesday accused the parents of the victims of not "bringing them up right", shielding the government from blame for the tragedy.

The health ministry said on Sunday that rescue workers have recovered 168 bodies from the shipwreck off the port city of Rosetta, leaving around 150 people still unaccounted for.

"If young people travel behind their parents' backs or without their permission it is their own fault what happens and they do not deserve sympathy," Agina told local media.

"The parents of young people who migrate illegally, get caught trying to do so or die [in the process] should be punished… because these young people are reckless and have not found anyone to tell them right from wrong,"

"If the government, which has eased travel procedures, had been the one who told these young people to flee on that boat and drown then we would immediately hold the government accountable," the MP added.

     
      Survivors have said up to 450 migrants were on board [Getty]

Survivors have said up to 450 migrants were on board the overcrowded fishing vessel headed to Italy from Egypt when it keeled over on Wednesday.

Egypt's military has said it rescued 163 survivors and that recovery attempts were continuing.

The International Organisation for Migration said most of those rescued were Egyptians but they also included Sudanese, Eritreans, a Syrian and an Ethiopian.

The tragedy sparked an emergency cabinet meeting and also topped the agenda of talks between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egypt's security chiefs on Saturday.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered heightened patrols of harbours used by migrant boats and of the northern coastline. A new bill being submitted to parliament would include "deterrent penalties" against people smugglers.

Agina made headlines earlier this month when he urged women to accept female genital mutilation in order to match Egyptian men's "sexual impotence".

His recent remarks on the tragic shipwreck have sparked anger on social media platforms.

Translation: "I was born in 'the mother of the world' (Egypt) and now have become a worthless Egyptian not worthy of life."

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