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Italian president calls for more decisive EU action on migrant crisis

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By Seamus Kearney
Italian president calls for more decisive EU action on migrant crisis

Migrants, including a pregnant woman and children, arrived in the Italian port of Palermo in Sicily on Saturday after being rescued at sea the day before.

The Somali refugees are among at least 700 people due to arrive on Saturday after being spotted on numerous boats.

Around 13,000 migrants have been rescued over the past week alone, with about 1,000 people drowning so far this year.

Immigration centres around Italy are struggling to cope with the influx.

Daniel Albanese, an immigration worker with the NGO Caritas, said: “The reception centres in our territory (Biella) and around the country are almost full.

“So this new influx of arrivals that we’ve seen since Easter are really testing the limits of the entire system.”

At least 44 suspected traffickers have been arrested by Italian officials over the past week.

The country’s president, Sergio Mattarella, has repeated the call for more decisive action on a European level to cope with the huge numbers fleeing war zones in Africa and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, amid the increasing chaos in the Mediterranean, the Italian Navy has retaken control of a Sicilian fishing boat seized overnight off the coast of Libya.

A Libyan soldier found on board is now in custody.