Nearly 1,500 migrants rescued off Libya: Italian coastguard
Nearly 1,500 migrants, including many women and children, have been rescued in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya over the past two days, the Italian coastguard said Monday.
A total of 1,482 people were picked up in about a dozen rescue operations at sea on Sunday and Monday, according to the Italian coastguard which coordinated the search and rescue efforts.
They did not release the nationalities of the migrants and refugees.
They said 730 people were rescued on Sunday and 752 on Monday. They did not provide a breakdown of the number of children and women on board.
The UN refugee agency said last week that nearly 14,500 migrants had arrived in Italy via Libya since the start of the year, up 42.5 percent on the same period a year earlier.
Libya has long been a stepping stone for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, with Italy some 300 kilometres (185 miles) across the sea.
European leaders fear that a recent deal with Ankara to stem the flow of migrants arriving in Greece via Turkey will increase crossings attempts from Libya.