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Spain Rescues 550 Migrants From Mediterranean


FILE - A migrant, who is part of a group of 58 intercepted aboard a makeshift boat around 100 miles off the coast, is helped by rescue workers upon arriving at Arguineguin port in the Canary Island Gran Canaria, Spain, May 30, 2016.

Spanish rescuers have plucked nearly 550 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea trying to make the dangerous crossing from North Africa in small rickety boats.

Officials say the migrants packed about 17 separate vessels -- three of which sank because of their poor condition.

There are no reports of any casualties.

Spanish authorities say most of those rescued over the past two days came from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Spain is becoming the leading destination for migrants trying to reach the European Union to escape war, terrorism and poverty at home.

Italy is still the most popular stop because Italian islands are fairly close to the North African coast.

But Italy has started to crack down harder on illegal migration while Greece, another popular stop, houses many arrivals in dangerously overcrowded camps before giving them a chance to apply for asylum. Those who are rejected are sent to Turkey under a deal worked out by the European Union.