"The [Egyptian] Navy thwarted an attempt by 440 individual migrants to illegally cross the [Mediterranean] sea," Samir said on Wednesday.
According to the spokesperson, the migrants were of different nationalities and were trying to make their way to Europe on two ships.
Earlier this month, over 250 illegal migrants were detained by the Egyptian military in the north of the country. In July, Egypt’s naval forces prevented three migrant boats, carrying over 300 people, from leaving the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in hopes of reaching Europe.
The wave of migration through Egypt has increased in recent years as the country borders crisis-ridden Libya and Sudan and has an extensive Mediterranean coastal area, through which migrants from the Middle East and North Africa often make their way toward Europe, in hopes of a better life there.
In March, the European Union and Turkey agreed on a deal, under which Ankara pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory. In exchange, Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey would be relocated to the bloc on a one-for-one basis.
In return for the deal, the bloc pledged to accelerate Turkey's EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime.