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Italian coast guards find 22 dead in migrant boat

Jul 21, 2016, 2:12 AM EDT
Migrant rescue operation in the Mediterranean
(Source: CSDP EEAS/flickr)

Humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (M.S.F.) said that its ship found 22 dead bodies in a migrant boat near the Libyan coast on Wednesday. In the operation, more than 200 people, including 50 children, were rescued from two rubber dinghies that were sailing close together in the central Mediterranean. The survivors, most of them citizens of Nigeria and Guinea, were shifted to Sicily, from where they will be taken to the port of Trapani on Friday.

Jens Pagotto, M.S.F. Head of Mission for Search and Rescue Operations, said that the cause of deaths was not clear, adding that the survivors will be treated by a team of trauma specialists when they reach land, reports Reuters.

Vessels from the Italian and Spanish navies rescued more than 2,000 migrants in different operations on Wednesday, writes the BBC. According to the International Organization for Migration, thousands of migrants have lost their lives or gone missing while attempting the perilous journey through the Mediterranean this year.

People smugglers have been taking advantage of calm seas and hot summer weather, which has resulted in a sharp rise in the number of migrants trying to cross over to Europe from Libya in recent weeks, Italian authorities said. 

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