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Italy Rescues 4,400 Migrants in Mediterranean

In this photo provided by the Italian Navy, migrants are approached by an Italian Navy dinghy boat in the Mediterranean sea, Aug. 22, 2015.

Italy's coast guard said Sunday that Italian forces had rescued 4,400 migrants off the coast of Libya in the span of one day after responding to requests for help from more than 20 vessels.

Italy has been routinely carrying out similar rescues, bringing hundreds of migrants to its shores, but the scale of Saturday's operation was unusually large.

So far this year, more than 100,000 people have made the Mediterranean crossing to Italy.

The journey is dangerous, with small boats struggling in rough waters or overloaded with too many people.

More than 2,300 people have died trying to reach Europe this year. There were 3,279 fatalities for all of 2014.

Europe has struggled to cope with an influx of migrants. They often first land in Italy and Greece, and then sometimes head to Europe's northern countries, where some communities have welcomed them and others have protested their arrival.

Some material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.

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