Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Libya coast guard rescues 290 migrants off eastern coast of Tripoli

Text size Aa Aa

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's coast guard rescued 290 migrants clinging to inflatable rafts on Friday in two operations near the capital Tripoli, a naval forces spokesman said.

The western coast of Libya is the main departure point of hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing their countries from wars and poverty to reach shores of Italy.

A coastguard vessel rescued 87 migrants off Qarabuli, a town 50 km (31 miles) eastern Tripoli, on an inflatable boat, naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters. The coast guard is part of Libya's Navy.

Another group of 203 migrants were rescued from two inflatable boats off Zlitin, a town 160 km (100 miles) east of the capital, Qassem said.

"The illegal migrants were found clinging to shabby and broken boats. They were rescued by patrols of coastguards on two different vessels," Qassem said.

The migrants have been handed-over to anti-illegal migration department after they were disembarked at two cities of Khomas and Janzur, said Qassem.

They are from different Arab and sub-Saharan countries, including seven women and a child.

After an Italy-backed deal, the number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 when human traffickers were expelled by an armed group from a smuggling hub of Sabratha city in western Tripoli.

The oil-rich North African country plunged into chaos after eight years of NATO-backed uprising that ousted the long-rule of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

(Writing by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.