Italy’s coastguard rescues 3,000 migrants from waters off Libya

At least seven boats – six Italian and one from Norway – were involved in an operation to get the migrants safely off 14 rubber dinghies and four other vessels carrying an estimated total of between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

Italy’s coastguard has coorinated the rescue of up to 3,000 migrants from the sea, just off Libya after receiving SOS calls from 18 different crowded vessels.

At least seven boats – six Italian and one from Norway – were involved in an operation to get the migrants safely off 14 rubber dinghies and four other vessels carrying an estimated total of between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

More than 104,000 migrants from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have landed at Italy’s southern ports so far this year after being rescued in the Mediterranean.

A further 135,000-plus have landed in Greece and more than 2,300 people have died at sea while trying to make it to Europe with the help of people smugglers.

Police in Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily, announced on Saturday that they had arrested six Egyptian nationals on suspicion of people smuggling following the rescue of a stricken boat on 19 August.

Testimony from the 432 migrants on board suggest the vessel had been packed with more than 10 times the number of people it was designed for, with many of the passengers, including a number of women and children, locked below decks.

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