Thousands Of Migrants Rescued From Smuggler Boats By Italian Coast Guard

Italian coast guard ships, along with military vessels from Ireland and Britain, have rescued at least 2,900 migrants from 21 smugglers boats in the Mediterranean, north of Libya.

An Irish military statement said the Irish vessel Le Eithne was involved in six of the operations on Sunday, rescuing migrants from inflatable rubber dinghies.

In a statement, the Italian coast guard also confirmed the number.

About 100 of the migrants were being brought to the tiny island of Lampedusa, off Sicily. Authorities were determining which larger, southern Italian ports would receive the others on Monday.

So far this year, about 60,000 migrants saved by ships in a multi-nation search and rescue mission have been brought to Italian ports.

Many seek asylum from wars or persecution in Africa or the Middle East, and hope to reach families in northern Europe.
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