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500 dead in migrant boat 'ramming'

About 500 migrants are feared to have died after their boat was rammed and sank off the coast of Malta coast last week.

T he International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said witnesses told them that the boat left Damietta in Egypt in early September with Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese on board.

The vessel sank on Wednesday, reportedly after a group of human traffickers rammed it with another boat.

IOM spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume said two Palestinian survivors had claimed there was a violent confrontation between the migrants and their traffickers, who wanted to move everyone onto one of their smaller vessels.

She said the traffickers "used one boat to knock the other", and that there were about nine known survivors in all.

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