More than 60 migrants intercepted in the English Channel

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Britain has seen migrants trying to reach the country by sea in increasing numbers

Dec 26, 2019

December 26, 2019

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More than 60 migrants were intercepted in the English Channel by UK Border Force officials and their French counterparts on Thursday.

The UK Home Office said 49 migrants had been brought ashore from four small boats during a co-ordinated search and rescue operation carried out off the coast of Kent, in south-east Britain.

Some 14 more were rescued from two other boats by French authorities.

After being detained, the migrants said they were from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Home Office said in a statement.

The boats were escorted into the port of Dover by the coastguard early on Thursday. The first boat reportedly arrived at around 6.20am and the others arrived soon after dawn.

The migrants, all believed to be male, were brought into the port and photographed before being wrapped in blankets and taken into custody for questioning, Sky News reported.

"We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country," a coastguard statement said, adding the service is "only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities."

Britain has seen record numbers of migrants being intercepted off its coasts this year. On December 4, 79 migrants, including children, were intercepted in five separate incidents.

In August, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that those who tried to travel to the UK illegally via boat would be sent back to where they came from.

"The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally," he said.

Updated: December 27, 2019 05:50 AM

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