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Nearly 2,500 migrants rescued off the Mediterranean

Nearly 2,500 migrants rescued off the Mediterranean

Libya

About 2,500 migrants were rescued off the Mediterranean in the past three days by Italian coast guards.

1,100 were taken from nine flimsy vessels off the Libyan coast on Thursday while another 1,360 others had been picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The situation is more dramatic than ever,” said Mathilde Auvillain, a spokeswoman on board the Aquarius, a rescue ship run by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF).

Since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 10,700 sea arrivals, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday, a third higher than the same period last year.

Separately, bodies of 27 migrants were recovered in western Libya, 13 of whom had died of suffocation, the Red Crescent said on Thursday.

Last year a record 181,000 boat migrants reached Italy and more than 5,000 died in the Mediterranean.

It is estimated more than 1.5 million migrants have flooded into Europe since 2015.

To stop the flow, Italy and the European Union earlier this month pledged to fund migrant camps in Libya run by the U.N.-backed government, and to supply equipment and training for the fight against people smugglers.

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