Italy rescues 600 migrants off Libyan coasts

Rome, Sep 2 (IANS) Italian navy and coast guard vessels carried out at least four rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, saving 600 migrants off the Libyan coasts.

Four women were found dead aboard an overcrowded inflatable boat during the first of such operations on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the navy as saying.

The craft was about 50 km north of Libya and was carrying another 112 people on board. The nationality of the victims was not immediately clear.

Italian navy vessel Fulgosi rescued 109 and 120 people who were crammed aboard a second inflatable boat and a wooden craft respectively in the waters of the Canal of Sicily, between Libya and Italy.

Two Italian coast guard vessels provided help to a fourth craft with 256 migrants on board, the coast guard said.

Italy has been seeing a record wave of migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean from African coasts, and especially from Libya, since the beginning of the summer.

So far this year, over 111,300 migrants have arrived in Italy from Africa and the Middle East, according to official statistics.

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