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Two boatloads of immigrants land in Lampedusa

Women and children among more than 500 arrivals

29 June, 12:54
Two boatloads of immigrants land in Lampedusa (ANSA) - Lampedusa, June 29 - Two large boats carrying more than 500 immigrants landed on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa early Wednesday.

Port authority officials met the first boat with around 225 immigrants as it arrived at the entrance to the port, while coast guard officials then intercepted the second boat carrying around 328 people two miles off the coast.

The immigrants were mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and the boats included more than 50 women and 17 children.

Both boats are believed to have departed from Libya and the new arrivals were immediately transferred to the island's immigrant welcome centre.

Immigration is a politically divisive issue in Italy and Premier Silvio Berlusconi's main coalition partner the Northern League is demanding an end to Italy's support for bomb attacks in Libya, claiming they are responsible for the recent influx of refugees.

Around 30,000 immigrants, mostly from Tunisia, Libya and sub-Saharan Africa, have landed on the small island off the coast of Sicily since January.

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