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The Tunisian coast guard shot dead two Egyptian fishermen and wounded two others when their boat entered Tunisian waters on Monday, the Tunisian defense ministry said.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that Tunisian authorities found two men dead upon boarding the fishing boat.
The coast guard “fired warning shots” at the fishing boat after pursuing it near Kerkennah Island on Tunisia’s eastern coast and ordering it to stop after it “entered regional waters illegally,” the Tunisian defense ministry said. The boat was among 10 Egyptian fishing boats that had illegally crossed into Tunisian waters.
The boat, which carried 12 other sailors, was seized in regional waters, said the ministry. The dead and wounded were transferred to a Sfax hospital based on orders from an investigating judge.
The Egyptian Embassy in Tunisia was notified that 10 Egyptian fishing boats have illegally entered Tunisian waters, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Amr Roshdy said.
Another Egyptian fishing boat carrying 16 people was also seized, he added.
Egypt's ambassador to Tunisia, Ayman Mesharafa, assigned a committee to follow up on the Egyptian fishermen’s medical care, to transfer the bodies and to investigate the cause of death, Roshdy said.
Roshdy stressed that the ministry has issued multiple statement in past months warning against violating the waters of neighboring countries and fishing illegally.