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Italian navy rescues 233 migrants

The Italian navy has rescued 233 migrants from an overcrowded smugglers' boat in rough seas south of Sicily.

The navy said one of its frigates was bringing the migrants - from Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia and Mali - into a Sicilian port today. They were initially rescued by another naval vessel last night some 80 miles (130 kms) south of the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

It said the migrants had been spotted in a 10 metre (33ft) boat without any life vests.

Each year, thousands of African, Asian or Middle Eastern migrants attempt risky voyages across the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats, and hundreds die en route. Unless they are eligible for asylum or have families or jobs in Europe, they risk expulsion by Italy.

AP

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