The bodies of 26 girls, between the ages of 14 and 18, were recovered in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday, after an apparent attempt at traveling into the country on a rubber dinghy from Libya. Italian police have told CNN that they were looking into the cause of death. Police are investigating whether the girls, who were believed to be immigrants from Niger or Nigeria, had been tortured or sexually abused. Aid workers said that survivors were seen clinging to the remains of a near-capsized dinghy, with the bodies of the girls floating around them. The dinghy was discovered during one of four separate rescue operations in the Mediterranean this weekend, during which 400 people, including 90 women and 52 minors, were safely recovered.
Libya has become a well-known starting point for migrants hoping to flee war, persecution, and poverty in countries across Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia by making a treacherous journey across the Mediterranean into Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,839 migrants have died making the journey this year.
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