Over 1,300 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean
Italian coast guard says there were 13 separate rescue operations in the sea on Friday
A migrant is covered with a thermal blanket following a rescue operation in the central Mediterranean Sea on Friday. Photograph: Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters
More than 1,300 migrants were rescued in 13 separate missions in the Mediterranean on Friday, bringing the total rescued over the last three days to more than 2,600, the Italian coast guard has said.
The migrants, who were aboard 13 vessels, were rescued in the central Mediterranean by ships from the Italian coast guard, the Italian and British navies, merchant ships and vessels operated by non-government organisations, a statement from the rescuers said.
Another 1,300 were rescued on Wednesday.
A record 181,000 made the journey last year, most on flimsy boats organised by people-smugglers.
More than 5,000 people are believed to have died attempting the crossing in 2016.
In the latest in a series of measures pushed by the EU to stop migrants reaching Europe, Italy launched a new fund on Wednesday to help African countries control their borders.