200 irregular migrants rescued off Libyan coast


Some 200 migrants have been rescued off Libya’s coast in operations conducted by the navy of the country’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), according to a statement on Thursday.

The GNA said in a statement that 200 migrants including seven women and three children were rescued in two operations held on the northwestern coast of Tripoli.

The rescued migrants were from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, the statement added.

Every year, thousands of irregular migrants use Libya as a gateway to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in overcrowded boats, often dying in the process.

Their numbers have declined since mid-2017 after Italy introduced a policy to return migrants to Libya if found at sea.

The policy has drawn condemnation from human rights activists as Libya has remained beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Libya has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: One in the east to which military commander Khalifa Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based GNA, which enjoys UN recognition.

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