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More Than 2,000 Migrants Rescued Overnight


A plastic raft overcrowded with migrants drifts in the central Mediterranean Sea, May 18, 2017. More than 2,000 migrants were rescued overnight Friday.

Rescuers pulled 2,121 migrants to safety from boats in the Mediterranean late Friday and early Saturday and recovered one dead body, the Italian coast guard said.

More than 45,000 people have reached Italy by boat from North Africa this year, up more than 40 percent from the same period in 2016, and 1,222 people are known to have died on the crossing, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The rescue operations involved two ships operated by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet, and a Spanish vessel participating in the EU’s EUNAVFOR mission in the Mediterranean, the coast guard said.

The coastguard did not give any details about the migrants.

Most sea-borne migrants arriving in Italy are from Sub-Saharan Africa or Bangladesh and pay Libya-based smugglers to organize their passage.

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