3,500 migrants rescued by Italian navy in 24 hours

More than 3,500 migrants coming from North Africa have been rescued by the Italian navy patrols in 24 hours, authorities said.

Migrants arrive to the Sicilian harbour of Augusta. Credit: Reuters

Thousands of migrants from Syria and North Africa, including hundreds of children, were picked up from 11 boats and taken to ports in Sicily and the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a coastguard spokesman told Reuters.

Some 43,000 people have crossed from North Africa to Italy so far this year, the same amount as in the whole of 2013, the coastguard said.