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VOA – VIDEO | Thousands of migrants are rescued as coastguards spot 26 overcrowded boats heading to Italy


Refugees and migrants from Eritrea, Mali, Bangladesh and other countries wait on board a dinghy to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of Sabratha, Libya

Some 3,200 migrants were plucked from overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya on Tuesday and one dead body was recovered, Italy’s coast guard said, as people smugglers operating in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather.
A coast guard spokesman said the smugglers had sent at least 26 boats toward Italy, the latest in a tide of migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Three Italian navy ships took part in rescues, picking up more than 1,000 of those brought to safety. British and Spanish ships operating within the European Union’s anti-people-smuggling mission also conducted rescues.
As of Monday, 79,861 migrants had arrived in Italy by sea, compared with 83,119 during the same period of last year, while the number of migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey was down 95 percent.
Almost 3,000 boat migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
A wave of migrants is typical at this time of year as calm seas return to the Mediterranean, prompting a surge in departures from North Africa.
Italy has been on the front line of Europe’s worst immigration crisis since World War Two and now in its third year. More than 320,000 boat migrants came to Italy from North Africa in 2014-15.
Nigerians, Eritreans and Gambians were the top three migrant nationalities this year, the Interior Ministry said, and more than 125,000 are now living in Italian shelters.