TUNIS, May 5 (Xinhua) -- A unit of the Tunisian Maritime Guard has rescued 38 illegal immigrants of different African nationalities off the coastal city of Sfax in southeastern Tunisia, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry on Wednesday.
"The rescue operation took place this afternoon, when a unit of the naval guard managed to rescue the illegal immigrants from a sinking boat sailing to the Italian coasts," said the statement.
"These illegal immigrants aged between 20 and 35, included six women," it added.
They were transferred to the Sfax naval base and handed over to the National Guard in the region to receive legal procedures.
Tunisia, located in the central Mediterranean, is one of the main points of access to the Europe through irregular channels.
The attempts of illegal immigration from the Tunisian coasts toward Italy have been increasing despite the strict measures by the Tunisian authorities to combat the problem.