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Thousands of migrants are rescued by Italians

By AP Reporter

Published 04/05/2015

The rescue operation saw lifeboats, coastguard teams and a helicopter deployed as well as specialist divers
The rescue operation saw lifeboats, coastguard teams and a helicopter deployed as well as specialist divers

Italian coastguard and commercial vessels rescued more than 4,000 migrants and recovered 10 bodies off the Libya coast over the weekend.

The rescues from 16 boats came as smugglers took advantage of calm seas to send packed vessels across the Mediterranean.

The Italian coastguard said the bodies were found in three rescue operations off Libya's coast. The coastguard was being aided by a tug and a merchant ship in at least some of the rescue efforts.

Most of the rescued migrants were still being taken to southern Italian ports as the fresh rescues were taking place.

Italy and humanitarian officials have been warning for weeks that the smugglers' boats would continue to head toward Italian shores unabated, and that spells of mild weather and calm seas could see spikes in the arrivals.

Some of the migrants were brought to tiny Lampedusa island, while others were headed to Sicily or Italy's southern mainland.

At least 1,750 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, a 20-fold increase on the same period in 2014.

Belfast Telegraph

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