Italian Navy and coast guard ships in the Mediterranean Sea, with the aid of humanitarian organizations, rescued 560 migrants off the coast of Libya Thursday. Most of those rescued came from African countries and Syria, Reuters reported.
It’s the latest rescue in the migrant crisis that continues to spark European Union debate over how to handle the flood of people. Italy is at the center of the crisis, having received almost half of the 363,000 migrants to Europe last year. Boat migrant arrivals are up 30 percent in Italy this year from 2016; over the course of a single weekend in April, about 7,000 migrants were reportedly rescued from the Mediterranean.
More than 1,000 deaths along the route have been reported in 2017.
Thursday’s rescue came amid accusations in Italy of ties between NGOs and human traffickers, but a prosecutor told Italian senators Tuesday that an investigation found no connections, the Associated Press reported.