Tunisian authorities said on Monday they had intercepted or rescued more than 200 migrants trying to reach Europe by sea over the weekend, including an entire extended family from the crisis-hit country.

The Coast Guard prevented 10 crossing attempts Sunday night, bringing ashore 156 new arrivals to Italy, the National Guard said.

Two-thirds of them were from sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest were Tunisians.

Defense ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri told AFP that 42 Egyptians who had sailed from neighboring Libya were rescued Sunday off Kerkena, central Tunisia, after their boat sank and they hid on an oil rig.

Following a similar incident in the same area last weekend, 10 Tunisian migrants are believed to have drowned and 20 were rescued.

Tunisian authorities also said 15 members of a family from Hammamet in central Tunisia, including five women and four young children, were not allowed to go out to sea on Friday night.

Tunisia and Libya are the main departure points for migrants trying to reach Europe from Africa.

Tunisia is going through a political and economic crisis, and Libya has been ruled by lawlessness since 2011, as a result of which militias have resorted to human trafficking.

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