An Egyptian security official says the coast guard has arrested 157 migrants of different nationalities including Palestinians who had been planning to sail illegally in a rickety fishing boat from Egyptian shores to Italy.
The official says the migrants included 43 Palestinians, 35 Sudanese and 18 Syrians. Women and children were among the migrants, who had been boarding the boat headed across the Mediterranean Sea from the Alexandrian district of Abu Qir.
The official also said that human traffickers had collected $3,500 dollars from each passenger.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Rights groups in the past have urged Egyptian authorities not to deport migrants, who are usually fleeing war zones, back to their countries.