TUNIS - The death toll from a migrant shipwreck off Tunisia on Friday has risen to 20 people, most of them Syrians, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a civil protection official told Reuters on Saturday, the latest migrant ship disaster off Tunisia.

He said the coastguard recovered eight bodies on Saturday, after finding 12 on Friday. A search was still under way.

In recent months, several people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by David Clarke and Jonathan Oatis)