Libyan-Italian navies save hundreds of refugees in Mediterranean

Libyan-Italian navies save hundreds of refugees in Mediterranean
Italian and Libyan naval forces have rescued hundreds of refugees attempting to reach Europe this week, as a new Turkish-EU deal attempts to deal with the refugee crisis.
1 min read
20 March, 2016
More than 1.2 million refugees have crossed into Europe since 2015 [Getty]
More than 900 refugees were rescued in Italian waters, while 600 others were saved off the coast of Libya this week.

The refugees were saved in separate operations by Italian and Libyan navies, in another busy week for search-and-rescue teams.

They were mostly migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan African countries, as well as Bangladesh, a spokesman for the Libyan naval forces, Ayoub Qassem.

However, the bodies of four dead women had been recovered in Libya while dozens more were reported missing when one of four boats crossing the dangerous waters to Europe sank.

Italian emergency services also recovered one corpse during their rescue operations.

More than 1.2 million refugees have arrived in Europe since the start of 2015, however most opt for the less dangerous route via Greece.

Rescue operations between Italy and North Africa have already saved 550 other migrants this week while 17 were helped off a burning boat.

The refugee emergency, declared the worse humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, has been on the forefront of discussions between EU nations.

But an EU-Turkey deal signed on Friday has seen Ankara agree to take back all refugees who crossed into Europe from Turkey.