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Irish navy's LÉ Niamh en route to second mission after rescuing 124 people adrift in Mediterranean

The Irish navy vessel LÉ Niamh has come to the aid of 124 people in a rubber boat in the Mediterranean.

Arriving at the scene off the north east coast of Tripoli at around 8am, its crew deployed two rigid-hull inflatables to help bring aboard the adrift migrants.

Some 107 men, 14 women and three children were rescued and given food, water and medical assistance.

The LÉ Niamh is now on route to another operation, said a spokesperson for the Irish Defence Forces.

This latest rescue comes as Europe struggles to cope with the huge numbers of people heading north from the Mediterranean.

On Thursday, Croatia announced it was closing seven of its eight road border crossings with Serbia.

Officials said they had no choice after more than 13,000 people entered the country since Hungary fenced off its border with Serbia earlier this week.

The Republic of Ireland is to extend its presence in the Mediterranean, Defence minister Simon Coveney confirmed.

The LÉ Samuel Beckett will take over operations in the Mediterranean from the end of September, replacing the LE Niamh, and will deploy until the end of November - depending on operational demands.

“The success of the operations carried out to date by LE Eithne and LE Niamh involving recovering over 6,000 migrants demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.”

"I believe that we should continue to support Italy in a practical manner as far as possible and the Italian authorities have indicated that ongoing support is welcome," said Mr Coveney.

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