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Almost 500 migrants brought back to Libya

Since July 2017, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under an Italy-backed deal with local authorities in a former smuggling hub of Sabratha town in western Libya

The 473 people found trying to cross the Mediterranean on inflatables in different  operations since Saturday included some who were picked up by a cargo ship, coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.

The migrants were from different sub-Saharan and Arab countries and included 25 women. Libya’s western shores are the main departure point for thousands of migrants mainly from sub-Saharan countries trying to reach Europe.

But since July 2017, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under an Italy-backed deal with local authorities in a former smuggling hub of Sabratha town in western Libya.

The coast guard has stepped up patrols after receiving new boats from Italy as part of efforts by the right-wing government there to stop migrants reaching Italian shores from Africa.

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