Police remove migrants from ship
Officers from an elite Cyprus police 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 said a number of negotiators peacefully removed nearly 300 people from the ship in a pre-dawn operation 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 centre near the capital, Nicosia, until authorities determine what will happen to them.
The Cypriot cruise ship had rescued the people from a small vessel which put out a distress call early yesterday amid rough seas off the south-western coastal town of Paphos.