Thursday, December 18, 2014   

Huge wave of rescued migrants arrive at Italian ports
(06-09 19:03)

More than 2,000 migrants arrived in Italy, bringing to a close an international operation to rescue refugees who had packed into 25 boats and traveled from Libya.
The migrants were taken to three Italian ports, with the largest contingent of 1,300 arriving at the southern Italian city of Taranto on board a navy ship Etna.
The refugees, including hundreds of women and dozens of babies, were rescued on Sunday as part of the Italian navy's ''Mare Nostrum'' operation, launched last year by Rome after two boats sank in October leaving more than 400 dead.
The majority of the migrants rescued at the weekend were Syrian and Sudanese. They were likely to be taken to refugee centers across Italy.
A second contingent of 529 migrants were taken to the Sicilian capital, Palermo.
This group, transported to port on the Panamanian cargo ship City of Sidon, included 120 women, a dozen of them pregnant, and 19 children.
Thousands of refugees have been taken to Sicily in recent days where they are processed, though officials on the island said on the weekend they were no longer able to cope with the influx of people.
A third group of 211 asylum-seekers were taken to another Sicilian port, Pozzallo, but are likely to be transferred to another location as reception centers there already hold more than 400 people.
The operation to rescue the migrants involved the Italian, Maltese and US navies.--AFP
   
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