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Libyan coast guard rescues 150 migrants in the Mediterranean

Libya’s coast guard said it rescued nearly 150 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said on Sunday that a rubber boat carrying 96 migrants, including 16 women and four children, was intercepted a day earlier off the city of Zawiya, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Tripoli.

Gassim said another boat carrying 51 migrants was intercepted on Saturday off the town of Khoms, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli.

He said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid, then taken to refugee camps.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

However, the renewed outbreak of violence in Libya, which began with rogue General Khalifa Haftar’s assault on the capital, Tripoli, has made an already difficult situation much worse for migrants.

Many migrants have been deliberately targeted in the offensive, which has so far killed more than attack 400 people.

Last Friday at least 65 migrants, most of them from Bangladesh, died after a boat that had left the Libyan port of Zuwara for Italy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

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