Sep 26, 2014 4:01 AM

Cyprus police empty ship of holdout migrants

The Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) Cypriot police say officers from an elite squad have boarded a cruise ship and cleared it of hundreds of rescued migrants, apparently Syrian refugees, who had refused to disembark and insisted on being taken to Italy.

Police spokeswoman Nicoletta Tyrimou says a number of negotiators peacefully removed nearly 300 people from the ship in the pre-dawn operation Friday after hours of negotiations aimed at getting them to leave on their own failed.

In all, 345 people, including 52 children, will remain at a reception center near the capital Nicosia until authorities determine what will happen to them.

The Cypriot cruise ship had rescued the people from a small vessel that put out a distress call early Thursday amid rough seas off Cyprus, southwestern coastal town of Paphos.


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