Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

2100 migrants rescued in Mediterranean, heading to Italy

2100 migrants rescued in Mediterranean, heading to Italy

In a separate exercise guards rescued some 120 migrants including women and children along its coast off the Libyan town of Gasr Garabulli, 60 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli.

Among those rescued Friday and early Saturday is a 6-week-old boy, one of seven migrants transferred to a coast guard motorboat to be sped to a medical facility.

According to official figures from the Italian Interior Ministry, more than 45,500 migrants have arrived in Italy this year.

Citing the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Rome, IOM spokesperson Joel Millman told reporters today at the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva that: "2,139 migrants had been rescued on 18 May alone through more than a dozen different operations in Mediterranean international waters".

"We've asked Italy to arm the patrol boats", he said, while noting that Libya was still under a United Nations arms embargo in force since its 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Another six patrol boats are to follow soon after the training of their Libyan crews, he said.

"We've asked Italy to arm the patrol boats", he said, while noting that Libya was still under a United Nations arms embargo in force since its 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Coastguard and military vessels joined forces with others chartered by humanitarian organisations to come to the rescue of the migrants, who were packed into 10 wooden boats and 12 rubber dinghies.

"Before the revolution, we were dealing with unarmed traffickers".

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