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Migrants rescued near Libya coast

Published 02/05/2015

A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo, Italy (AP)
A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo, Italy (AP)

Ships from the Italian Coast Guard and navy have rescued more than 1,200 migrants after smugglers' boats ran into trouble in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya.

The migrants were being taken today to Italian ports after several different rescue operations, including helping some 200 people aboard motorised rubber dinghies a day earlier south of Sicily.

The smugglers' boats had set out in a spell of warm, calm weather.

Two weeks earlier, a fishing boat in which smugglers had crammed an estimated 800 people capsized in what is the largest known loss of life in a single boat accident involving migrants trying to reach Italian shores.

There were only 28 survivors.

The deaths prompted a humanitarian outcry and a European Union pledge to boost rescue efforts.

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