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Nearly 600 migrants rescued off Lampedusa

Over 10,000 saved under 'Mare Nostrum' operation since October

18 March, 12:56
Nearly 600 migrants rescued off Lampedusa (ANSA) - Rome, March 18 - Italian navy vessels on Monday rescued 596 migrants from two stricken boats off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, the military said in a statement Tuesday. The frigate Grecale intervened on behalf of 323 mostly Syrian and Palestinian migrants including 38 women and 54 minors, while the corvette Sfinge rescued a further 273 people, including 65 women and 8 minors thought to be mostly from Eritrea. The migrants were to be transferred to a single vessel on Tuesday for medical treatment and identification, the statement said. The rescue took place within the framework of the military and humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum, launched in October 2013 following the sinking of a boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy in which over 350 people are known to have drowned. The navy has conducted 76 rescue operations since the start of the operation, saving 10,134 migrants including 713 women and 1,019 minors.