Tragic End to Journey of Palestinians from Libya to Europe

Tragic End to Journey of Palestinians from Libya to Europe
Tragic End to Journey of Palestinians from Libya to Europe

The report quoted Mohammed Al-Shaer, who lost his brother Yunus who was attempting to migrate to Europe. After passing through Egypt, and arriving in Libya, their money and belongings were stolen.

Al-Shaer took the land crossing to Egypt last February, before traveling onwards to Libya which is a hub for unauthorized Mediterranean crossings.

The 21-year-old was one of the scores of Palestinians risking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

He drowned alongside seven other Gazans, whose bodies were returned home in December. This adds to the toll of nearly 2,000 people recorded as dead or missing last year by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

His brother Mohammed told AFP that upon reaching Libya, the group had their money and belongings stolen. They had to sleep in places “unfit even for animals.”

The group were detained by one of Libya’s many human trafficking gangs, which often kidnap migrants for ransom. His brother said the gang forced his family to pay $1,500 dollars.

The group initially paid to cross the Mediterranean but were tricked and there was “no boat, no shelter, no food,” Shaer said.

The death hit his mother Samira like an “earthquake”, she told AFP at the family home in Rafah, southern Gaza.

“I knew the dangers of emigrating, but at some point, I gave up because of his insistence on leaving. Every day I waited for news of his death,” Samira said.

Kissing a photo of her late son, she said it was a “lack of work, and the poverty that pushed Younis to leave”.

As many as two-thirds of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million residents live in poverty, according to figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Al-Shaer studied accountancy for two years before deciding to leave the Palestinian enclave, along with a group of relatives.