00:40 GMT +313 December 2019
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    A relative of Tunisian migrants, who drowned when their boat sank, reacts as he leaves a hospital morgue after identifying the bodies of his family members, in Sfax, Tunisia June 4, 2018

    Tunisian Prime Minister Fires Interior Minister Days After Deadly Boat Accident

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    The Tunisian government said in a statement Wednesday that the country's prime minister decided to dismiss the Interior Minister. The move is allegedly connected with a boat accident, that occurred three days ago and claimed the lives of at least 68 people.

    Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has announced his decision to fire Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem, according to a government statement released on Wednesday. The document, however, did not specify reasons behind the move.

    The prime minister previously accused the country's security guards of failure to prevent a boat with 180 migrants from sinking off the Tunisian coast.

    READ MORE: Tunisia Slams Italian Vice PM for Remark It Sends 'Convicts' to EU

    Deadly Accident and Smuggling Schemes

    A boat carrying about 180 migrants sank off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday, with the highest death toll in a single migration attempt, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) declared Tuesday.

    Following the accident, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed proclaimed during his visit to Kerkennah, the strengthening of security forces on the Kerkennah Islands off Tunisia's southeastern coast.

    "The decision to strengthen the security on the islands dates back to last October," Chahed stated, excusing "some delay in the execution."

    READ MORE: ‘Migrants Spent Thousands and Thousands of Dollars to Get to Europe' — Analyst

    As Interior Ministry Spokesman Khalifa Chibani stated previously, Tunisian security forces had intercepted eight individuals involved in planning the illegal transportation of migrants.

    "Merchants, who manipulate our youth, must be prosecuted to pay their responsibility," added Chahed.

    The aforementioned Kerkennah islands are known as one of the main illegal gateways to Europe from Tunisia. According to the International Organization for Migration's estimates, about 1,910 Tunisian migrants have reached Italy by sea since the beginning of this year.

    READ MORE: Danish Politician Warns of New Migrant Influx Dwarfing 2015 EU Crisis

    dismissal, boat, sinking, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Tunisia
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