Italy rescues 2000 migrants from sea off Libya

Libyan coast guard report 97 migrants missing on sunken boat

More than 2,000 asylum seekers trying to reach Europe were plucked from the Mediterranean on Friday in a series of dramatic rescues.

The coast guard spokesman confirmed that one person had died but gave no details.

So far today #Prudence and #Aquarius have saved ~1000 #people in 9 different boats from the sea.

Videos from the rescues showed women rejoicing with songs, but the day had a sombre underlying.

After a long and hard day like this one, these voices and songs of joy and happiness are our best reward.

In all 35 rescue operations were launched during the day, with 15 of them still underway as night fell, the coastguard said.

On Tuesday, IOM denounced the existence of real "slave markets" in Libya, where it said migrants were sold for between $200 and $500.

Earlier this week the International Organization for Migration said almost 32,000 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 9 April, with over 80% arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece.

"We have never had to deal with so many people at the same time", said Pauline Schmidt, spokesperson for Jugend Rette.

Italian prosecutors have suggested the non-government affiliated groups have links to traffickers, a claim the groups have strongly denied.

Thousands of immigrants have reached Italian shores this year and hundreds have drowned crossing the sea. Probably the same. How many would have died?

Six years since the revolution that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has become a key departure point for migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. We are where we're needed, what's the #EU doing meanwhile?

The civil guard based on the island of Mallorca said their ships had found two boats with 14 men each both on Thursday and Friday.

MOAS said it had been a 24 hours marathon of continuous rescue operations. In 2017, the sea continues to be a graveyard.

African migrants, whose boat sank off the Libyan coast, receive food and medical care upon their rescue at the Tripoli port ahead of their transfer to the Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority, in the Libyan capital on April 13, 2017. Rescuers jumped into the water to help them.

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