Italy rescues more than 500 migrants off Sicily

ROME (AFP) - Italy rescued more than 500 migrants in the Strait of Sicily in the early hours of Friday as part of several coastguard operations, authorities said.

In the first operation, a Maltese vessel rescued more than 200 migrants on two rubber dinghies who had put out an SOS call while they were still in Libyan waters.

A boat flying a Bahamas flag also rescued 118 migrants, while in another operation a Navy vessel called on a tugboat to rescue 175 migrants from two more boats.

Meanwhile on Friday morning, Italian divers found another body from the refugee shipwreck last week off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, raising the death toll in the tragedy to 312.

Only 155 survivors were rescued out of an estimated 500 people, most of them Eritreans and Somalis, on the boat which departed from Libya.

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