More than 900 people rescued from boats off Libya coast

Libya has become a major launching point for people trying to reach Europe – more than 60,000 have attempted the migration this year alone. Among those rescued Saturday were 25 children and 98 women.

On Saturday, Libya’s coast guard rescued more than 900 people who were attempting to migrate to Europe via the western city of Sabratha, according to officials.

“A coast guard patrol from Zawiya (west of Tripoli) intercepted five inflatable boats and a wooden vessel carrying 906 migrants at dawn on Friday,” General Ayoub Qassem said.

The general said 25 children and 98 women, seven of whom were pregnant, were among those rescued.

“One of the rubber boats was holed and on the point of sinking, while the wooden one did not have a motor,” Qassem said.

Libya in turmoil

Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed strongman Moammar Gadhafi. It has become the most popular departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

About 60,000 people have set off from Libya’s coast this year, many packed onto ill-equipped boats that often get picked up by European vessels when they reach international waters.

But some boats sink or become stranded when smugglers remove the engines for reuse, and some get turned back by Libya’s coast guard.

bik/mkg (Reuters, AFP)

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