Rome [Italy], May 26 (ANI): More than 200 people, including women and children, were rescued by the Maltese navy in the Mediterranean Sea, authorities said on Saturday.
Al Jazeera quoted a spokesman for the Maltese navy as saying that two separate rescue operations took place on late Friday as the migrants were crossing the Mediterranean Sea on dinghies.
At least one pregnant woman was among those rescued by the Maltese forces, according to the spokesman.
The first group was rescued after it "sent out a distress call that their boat was taking in water," the spokesperson said.
He added that after picking up the first group, the boat was diverted to a second dinghy "after receiving another distress call".
The Malta forces said that with good weather conditions prevailing, departures of migrants from Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria had increased in the past two days, resulting in 12 boats arriving in Sicily, Sardinia, and Lampedusa.
The European Union (EU) has been challenged by the migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Relocation of migrants within the bloc has caused tensions within EU countries, with Malta, in particular, reaching an agreement with eight EU states to relocate migrants stranded off its coast on charity vessels after sea rescue operations. (ANI)