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Italian costguard rescues hundreds of migrants off Calabria coast

cargo ship carries migrants during a rescue operation, as it sails off the island of crete
file photo

The Italian coastguard has rescued about 250 migrants, including a newborn baby, from a boat drifting a few miles off the coast of the Calabria region.

The rescue, carried out overnight on Saturday and Sunday, was complicated by difficult weather and sea conditions and lasted more than 16 hours, the coastguard said in a statement.

A total of 244 people, of which 41 minors including the baby born on the boat on Saturday, were saved.

Italy has seen a sharp increase in boat migrants in recent weeks and the latest arrivals will put further pressure on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to secure an agreement with European Union partners over how to deal with the influx.

Another 296 migrants were saved from the Italian costguard in the Mediterranean on Nov. 25 as they tried to reach Europe.

In a separate statement German NGO Sea-Watch said on Saturday that 461 people are disembarking from its rescue ship in Augusta, Sicily.

Some 62,236 migrants have landed in Italy so far in 2021, interior ministry data show, against 32,542 in the same period last year.

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