Those The Italian navy has rescued over 1,000 migrants in 24 hours in the Mediterranean Sea from boats attempting to reach Europe.
In a statement issued on Friday, the navy said that its helicopters located four overcrowded vessels in Mediterranean waters south of the Italian island of Sicily on Thursday and ships were dispatched to rescue the migrants.
Some 823 migrants, mainly from Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Tunisia, were rescued on Thursday while 233 others were saved Wednesday as part of a major operation to save the lives of thousands of mostly African migrants heading for Europe in flimsy boats.Those rescued on Wednesday were from Eritr rescued on Wednesday were from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Mali and Pakistan and were taken to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast.
Six military boats and several helicopters participated in the rescue operation.
The Italian government has launched a major operation called “Mare Nostrum” mobilizing warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft to prevent further tragedies like the two shipwrecks in October 2013 in which more than 363 immigrants died.
The rescue operations were implemented after Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro announced that Rome has launched “Operation Mare Nostrum” to tackle the immigration emergency.
According to the defense minister, three navy ships and 410 marines, two night-vision planes, four helicopters, two custom agency ships, and four coast guard patrol boats have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea to deal with the latest waves of refugees and migrants arriving on its coasts.