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Libyan coast guards rescue 152 migrants

Refugees are seen after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]
Libyan Coast Guards rescue refugees in Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]

Libyan coast guards have rescued 152 undocumented migrants, including 19 women and three children, off the country's western shores, according to the Libyan navy on Sunday.

The migrants were rescued in two separate operations on Saturday, the navy said in a statement.

A group of migrants were located 32 kilometers (20 miles) north of the city of Zuwara, some 120 km (75 mi) west of the capital Tripoli, while others were rescued 32 km (20 mi) north of Qara Bulli are, 80 km (50 mi) east of Tripoli, it said.

Algerian, Tunisian and Sudanese migrants were among those rescued, the statement said.

Around 785 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea this year while trying to sail to Europe, according to the UN migration agency, IOM.

According to the Libyan Navy, 16,000 undocumented migrants were rescued in 2017.

Ever since the collapse of the central authority in Libya in 2011, the country's northwestern coast has become a hub for illegal migration to Italy and other countries in Europe.

Libya represents a major transit point for African migrants seeking access to Europe, especially Italy.

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