823 migrants rescued by Italian Navy

Rome, Jan 4: A total of 823 North African and Asian migrants were rescued by Italian Navy Friday in the Sicilian Channel when attempting the island of Lampedusa, Italian Navy said in a statement.

The migrants, including 23 women and 46 minors, were picked up from four rickety boats in the “Mare Nostrum” (Latin for Our Sea) operation, Xinhua reported.

Military vessels and helicopters were involved in the search and rescue mission. A Maltese aircraft also reportedly helped orient two of the boats.

The migrants, which will be transported to the Sicilian port of Augusta, mainly hailed from Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia, according to the statement.

Another 233 migrants were rescued Thursday morning in the same area.

The “Mare Nostrum” began in October of last year, after some 400 people were killed in two shipwrecks crossing Mediterranean and attempting landing on Lampedusa, a small island under 115 km away from Africa.

IANS