News World Five dead, 1100 rescued off Libyan coast

Five dead, 1100 rescued off Libyan coast

Italian Navy ships from Operation Safe Sea in action off the coast of Libya Photo: supplied (Italian Navy)
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More than 1,000 people have been rescued from sinking boats off the coast of Libya, while five bodies have also been recovered.

Three ships of the Italian Navy, taking part in “Operation Safe Sea” lent aid to several boats in distress in the southern Mediterranean, picking up more than 1,100 migrants on Saturday.

Nearly 90,000 migrants had crossed the central Mediterranean to Italy as of this week, the IOM said, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year.

More than 120 bodies of people who died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe have washed up on beaches in western Libya this month along, the mayor of  a local town says.

Hussein Thwadi said bodies had washed up on a daily basis, with 53 found on a single day last week.

One body was found on board a wooden fishing boat. Others were pulled from the sea after 10 migrants either jumped or fell into the water as rescuers approached.

A search for other migrant boats was underway. The Safe Sea operation was launched in March 2015 following the deterioration of the situation in Libya.

Of more than 3000 migrants known to have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, about three out of four perished trying to reach Italy from North Africa, mainly Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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