At least 2,500 migrants rescued, one body recovered – Italy
More than 2,500 migrants were plucked from overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya and one body was recovered, Italy’s coast guard said, as rescue operations continued in the area.
People smugglers operating in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather, sending at least 26 rafts and wooden boats toward Italy packed with migrants fleeing violence and poverty at home, a coast guard spokesman said.
Three Italian navy ships participated in the rescues, bringing more than 1,000 people to safety, a navy statement said. Two ships participating in the European Union anti-people smuggling mission Sophia also conducted rescues.
“A huge number of rubber boats are in distress off Libya. All available rescue boats have been called,” Doctors Without Borders tweeted earlier on Tuesday.
While the EU border agency Frontex reported arrivals to Italy jumped by a quarter to June, overall about the same number of migrants have reached the Italian peninsula so far this year as did during the same period of last year.
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