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Thousands of Refugees Coming on Boats from Libya, Italian Navy Says

FILE - Migrants sit in their boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship Grecale (not pictured) off the coast of Sicily.

The Italian Navy has intercepted at least 1,400 refugees on boats crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa in the past day. They are seeking asylum in Europe, and their numbers are growing.

So far this year, the Italian Navy has rescued 60,000 migrants - far more than the 42,000 in all of 2013.

The boats are coming mostly from Tripoli, Libya, but the refugees are from hot spots in North Africa such as Eritrea - where the U.N. is investigating human rights violations - and conflict areas in the Middle East, such as Syria.

The Italians expect by year end that the number of refugees reaching their shores from North Africa will top 100,000.