3,300 migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Rescuers came to the aid of 3,300 migrants and refugees off the coast of Libya in 24 operations Friday, the Italian coast guard said, CNN reports.

The rescue was a coordinated effort by the coast guard, the European Union Naval Force and nongovernmental organizations, the coast guard said via Twitter.
Seven bodies were recovered, it added.

Libya is a popular jumping-off point for migrants seeking to reach Europe from North Africa via what is known as the Central Mediterranean route. Smuggling networks are well-established there, and the lack of an effective central government makes the job of traffickers easier.

But the crossing can be treacherous, with too many migrants -- some fleeing war or persecution, others seeking a better life -- crammed into what are often barely seaworthy boats.

According to the EU border agency Frontex, the number of migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean fell to nearly 12,700 in September, down 40% from the previous month due to poor weather conditions, but the overall trend for the first nine months of 2016 is in line with 2015.

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