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Hundreds more migrants rescued off Italy

Rome, Apr 11 (EFE).- The Italian navy on Friday announced the rescue of a new group of 762 people trying to make their way to Europe from North Africa, bringing the number of migrants picked up at sea in recent months to nearly 20,000. The rescue operations took place in the Strait of Sicily, which separates that Italian Mediterranean island from Tunisia. The frigate Euro intercepted two boats early Friday carrying 336 migrants, including 44 women and 10 minors, while an Italian coast guard vessel rescued 66 other migrants, the navy said in a statement.

Italian navy op has rescued nearly 20,000 migrants

The Italian navy said on Thursday it had rescued nearly 20,000 migrants since launching a Mediterranean operation following two deadly shipwrecks in October 2013. Navy chief Giuseppe De Giorgi said the rate of arrivals was increasing "and we are following six boats today". Five warships are usually deployed with more than 900 military personnel in the ongoing operation. "This operation costs us around nine million euros ($12 million) a month. We have cancelled military exercises to make up the expense," De Giorgi told reporters.

Italian navy intercepts 1,049 migrants at sea

Rome, Apr 8 (EFE).- The Italian navy said Tuesday that it intercepted three vessels carrying a total of 1,049 African migrants en route to Sicily. The vessels were in distress Monday when they were spotted by aerial patrols, the navy said in a statement. Two patrol boats joined the frigates Maestrale and Euro in the operation to rescue the migrants, who are expected to reach the Sicilian ports of Augusta and Pozzallo later on Tuesday, according to the statement. The group of migrants includes 91 children, three of them infants.

Italian navy intercepts 1,049 migrants at sea

Rome, Apr 8 (EFE).- The Italian navy said Tuesday that it intercepted three vessels carrying a total of 1,049 African migrants en route to Sicily. The vessels were in distress Monday when they were spotted by aerial patrols, the navy said in a statement. Two patrol boats joined the frigates Maestrale and Euro in the operation to rescue the migrants, who are expected to reach the Sicilian ports of Augusta and Pozzallo later on Tuesday, according to the statement. The group of migrants includes 91 children, three of them infants.

Italy rescues more than 4,000 migrants, operations ongoing

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's navy has rescued more than 4,000 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily in the past four days and several other rescue operations are still going on, officials said on Friday. This week's warm spring weather has brought calm seas and an surge in new arrivals. Most migrants pay more than $1,000 to criminal gangs in increasingly chaotic Libya to make the crossing to Italy - and the European Union - that killed hundreds last year.

Italian ships rescue more than 2,000 migrants in 48 hours

ROME (Reuters) - Italian naval and coastguard vessels rescued more than 2,000 migrants travelling in boats from North Africa over the past 48 hours, authorities said on Wednesday, underlining the scale of illegal migration into southern Europe. The announcement came a day after some 500 people forced their way into Spain's North African enclave of Melilla, the largest number to storm the border in almost a decade.

Syria migrant jailed for fleeing Malta

A Syrian migrant who survived the tragedy in Lampedusa in October 2013 was jailed for six months Wednesday after he fled Malta illegally. Omar Younes, 23, managed to flee Malta illegally on a boat and made it to The Netherlands where he was detained and sent back to Malta. He was one of the 200 migrants who survived the shipwreck 60 nautical miles south of Lampedusa on October 12. An estimated 200 migrants are believed to have perished in the tragedy. Of the surviving migrants, 143 were taken to Malta while 56 were taken to Lampedusa.

New Italy PM makes Tunisia his first port of call

Italy's newly appointed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Tunisia on Tuesday in his first official trip abroad, saying the Mediterranean should be the heart of Europe and not its border. "The Mediterranean is not the border but the heart of Europe," he said at a news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Mehdi Jomaa. "I chose Tunisia for my first foreign visit as prime minister to show the centrality that Italy attaches to the Mediterranean," he said.

Tunisian navy 'rescues 98 sub-Saharan migrants'

The Tunisian navy rescued 98 sub-Saharan migrants Wednesday, including a nine-year-old Congolese boy in critical condition, after their boat started taking on water off the coast, the defence ministry said. "The 98 people of different African nationalities set off from the Libyan coast in an inflatable boat... probably for the (Italian) island of Lampedusa," spokesman Taoufik Rahmouni told AFP.

Tunisian navy 'rescues 98 sub-Saharan migrants'

The Tunisian navy rescued 98 sub-Saharan migrants Wednesday, including a nine-year-old Congolese boy in critical condition, after their boat started taking on water off the coast, the defence ministry said. "The 98 people of different African nationalities set off from the Libyan coast in an inflatable boat... probably for the (Italian) island of Lampedusa," spokesman Taoufik Rahmouni told AFP.
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