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Sep 25, 2014 5:49 PM

345 rescued people refuse to leave Cypriot ship

The Associated Press


A cruise line official says more than 300 people, apparent refugees fleeing from Syria, are refusing to disembark from a cruise ship that rescued them from a small boat stranded off Cyprus.

Salamis Cruise Lines Managing Director Kikis Vasiliou told reporters at the east Mediterranean island's main port of Limassol Thursday that the people are insisting that they be taken to Italy instead.

Cypriot officials said that the 345 people, including 52 children, were to be taken to a reception center near the capital Nicosia where they would be given shelter and medical attention until authorities determine what will happen to them.

The Cypriot Defense Ministry said the boat issued a distress call early Thursday amid bad weather and had "most likely" set said from Syria loaded with "civilian refugees."


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