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Coastguard rescues 4,200 migrants

Published 30/05/2015

The Irish Navy ship the LE Eithne has also been rescuing endangered migrants in the Mediterranean
The Irish Navy ship the LE Eithne has also been rescuing endangered migrants in the Mediterranean

The Italian coast guard says it has co-ordinated the rescue of more than 4,000 migrants off Libya's coast in 22 separate operations.

The rescues, from 13 boats and nine motorised rubber dinghies, took place on Friday. The coast guard said today that 17 migrants were found dead aboard one of the vessels. In all, 4,243 rescued migrants were being taken to Italian harbours.

Smugglers are reaping millions by overcrowding unseaworthy boats with migrants on Libya's Mediterranean coast to set out for Italian shores. The migrants are fleeing war, persecution or poverty in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Cargo ships and Irish and German navy vessels helped Italian military craft in Friday's rescues. Italy has demanded its European partners help more with migrants, who have been arriving in huge numbers this year.

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