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Dozens more migrants rescued from sea off Sicily and taken to Lampedusa

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Dozens more migrants rescued from sea off Sicily and taken to Lampedusa

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The Italian Navy says it has rescued 76 migrants from the sea south of Sicily and taken them to Lampedusa.

It comes on top of hundreds of others who arrived on the Mediterranean island earlier this week, creating an emergency at the place visited not long beforehand by Pope Francis.

The migrants said they had come from various African countries – Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia – as well as from Pakistan.

On Tuesday the Italian coast guard said it had intercepted three migrant vessels off the coast of Sicily in 24 hours.

Hundreds of people were rescued in the operations – sometimes carried out in dangerous conditions – and taken to Lampedusa or the Sicilian port of Portopalo.

According to UN figures, almost 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers landed on southern Italian coasts in the first half of the year.