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10,000 migrants rescued from Mediterranean in just four days

Nearly 10,000 migrants have been rescued from boats travelling across the Mediterranean to Italy in the past four days alone, the Italian Coast Guard has revealed.

Official estimates suggesting at least 31,500 migrants have entered Italy and Greece since the start of the year as increasing governmental instability and violence in Africa has prompted a surge in numbers fleeing to Europe.

Another 900 are believed to have drowned on the crossing, including 400 people aboard a boat which capsized on Monday.

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Anger in Italy over 'invasion' of migrants

Right-wing parties in Italy have voiced increasing anger at what they call an "invasion" of migrants heading to the country from Africa.

The government in Rome has called for help from regional authorities to provide beds for the thousands of new arrivals - but many politicians have been reluctant to comply.

Dozens more migrants arrived in Sicily yesterday Credit: Reuters

Among them is Matteo Salvini, head of the Northern League party, who accused the government of running a "taxi service" to help people traffickers. Posting on Facebook, he added:

I ask the League's governors, mayors, assessors and councillors to say no, with every means, to every new arrival. The League is ready to occupy every hotel, hostel, school or barracks intended for the alleged refugees.

Stop the departures and prevent the landings, to save lives.

– Matteo Salvini, Northern League party

Head of centre-right party Forza Italia, Giorgia Meloni, has also said the boats setting off from north Africa to Italy "should be stopped as they leave", while Claudio Palomba, the prefect of Rimini, told the Telegraphthat the system was "close to collapse".

Official estimates suggest more than 30,000 people have crossed into Italy and Greece since the start of the year, making the treacherous trip across the Mediterranean to escape from Libya - including 10,000 picked up by search and rescue boats in the last week alone.

At least 900 more are believed to have drowned en route.

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