Israeli authorities were searching for survivors after a migrant rubber boat containing documents and effects—but no people—washed up on a beach near Netanya on Sunday morning.
It wasn’t clear if the people on board had drowned or abandoned the boat.
Maritime Unit police launched boats and aerial drones to search for survivors. Given the prevailing currents, it’s not certain that any bodies would wash up.
Police said several Somali and Turkish passports and identity cards were found in the boat, including those of children. Also found in the boat were bottles of water, energy bars and cakes.
“The police, in cooperation with the maritime police officers, began a search a short time ago upon receiving a report from municipal officials about a rubber boat that washed ashore in the city–when there were no people in the boat, but a lot of personal effects and documents were found in it,” the police said.
Ruven Menikdiwela, director of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s office in New York, told the Security Council on Thursday that more than 2,500 people have died or disappeared trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe. The number of migrants from sub-Sahara Africa traveling by land to the coast of Libya and Tunisia has been surging in 2023, she said.
According to Menikdiwela, 186,000 people managed to reach southern Europe in 2023, landing in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta or Spain.