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One Body Found, 3,200 Migrants Rescued From Boats, Says Italy

Migrants sit in their boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship Borsini (unseen) off the coast of Sicily, Italy, in this handout picture courtesy of the Italian Marina Militare released July 19, 2016. Marina Militare/Handout via REUTERS

Migrants sit in their boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship Borsini (unseen) off the coast of Sicily, Italy, in this handout picture courtesy of the Italian Marina Militare released, July 19, 2016. Marina Militare/Handout via Reuters

Rome: Some 3,200 migrants were plucked from overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, July 19, and one dead body was recovered, Italy‘s coast guard said, as people smugglers operating in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather.

A coast guard spokesman said the smugglers had sent at least 26 boats toward Italy, the latest in a tide of migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Three Italian navy ships took part in rescues, picking up more than 1,000 of those brought to safety. British and Spanish ships operating within the EU’s anti-people-smuggling mission also conducted rescues.

The Doctors Without Borders charity and migrant rescue groups MOAS and Sea Watch also participated. An Irish navy ship and a private tug boat completed the cast of rescuers.

A deal struck between the EU and Turkey and border closures have helped to stem the flow of migrants from the Middle East and Asia coming through Turkey and Greece. But Italy has received about the same number of migrants setting off from north Africa this year as during the same period of 2015.

As of Monday, July 18, 79,861 migrants had arrived in Italy by sea, compared with 83,119 during the same period of last year, while the number of migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey was down 95%.

Almost 3,000 boat migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

(Reuters)