Fifty-seven migrants were rescued by Italian customs
police and the coastguard and taken to the island of Lampedusa, the
ANSA news agency reported.
The migrants were on a boat intercepted off Lampione, an uninhabited islet off Lampedusa. They were picked up and taken to Lampedusa late on Saturday. According to ANSA, there was a pregnant woman and a boy suffering from an apparent nervous breakdown among them. He was visited by doctors before joining the other migrants in a reception centre.
ANSA said the migrants are likely to be Tunisians. Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini claims credit for a drastic drop in migrant arrivals to Italy, linking it to his efforts to block the work of migrant rescue charities.
Most sea migrants reach Italy without the help of charities. Matteo Villa, a migration researcher at the ISPI think tank, has calculated that only 8 per cent of the 3,073 migrants who landed in Italy in the January 1-July 8 period were rescued by charity ships.
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