Three migrants die as thousands rescued in seas off Libya

About 72,000 migrants arrived in Italy on the perilous route from Libya between January 1 and June 21, roughly 20 percent more than in 2016, and more than 2,000 died on the way, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"The ambassador highlighted that Italy's efforts have been enormous and well beyond global obligations, and under the current circumstances it is hard for our authorities to allow further disembarkations of migrants", an Italian diplomat told German news agency DPA of the meeting with European Union migration Commissioner Dimitri Avramopoulos.

In just the past week, over 10,000 migrants arrived in Italy on foreign vessels belonging to worldwide aid groups like Doctors Without Borders.

Between Sunday and Wednesday this week, rescuers in the Mediterranean picked up 10,850 migrants from 74 packed dinghies and flimsy wooden boats before heading for Italian ports to drop them off. More than 8,000 people were rescued in waters off Libya in one 48-hour period this week, Italy's coastguard claimed.

Among the NGOs rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean is Doctors without Borders (MSF).

In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's global broadcaster, noted that Italy's ruling, centre-left Democratic party has come under pressure over the migrant issue.

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The figures also raise the spectre of the chaos witnessed in 2015 when the number of migrants seeking asylum was at its highest in 25 years.

According to The Guardian, both Germany and France have said Italy, after the closure of the Turkey route, has been left alone to fend with the refugee crisis for too long.

"Discussed with Italian ambassador our support after increasing numbers of arrivals in Italy", Avramopoulos tweeted.

"We are now facing an biblical exodus", said Paolo Romani, head of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's opposition Forza Italia party in the upper house of Parliament.

The populist Five Star Movement has also called for a halt to new migrant arrivals in Rome. Local media reported the ambush was staged in an attempt to gain the release of three drug-runners arrested by a vigilante force in Tripoli.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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