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Friday
Jan032014

Italian Navy Rescues over 1,000 Migrants at Sea

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Navy ships and helicopters rescued more than 1,000 migrants from boats off the coast of Italy after asylum seekers attempted to cross from North Africa to Europe.

The migrants, from areas including Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, were packed in overcrowded vessels passing across the Mediterranean. Hundreds attempt to make the dangerous trip across rough waters to flee ongoing violence in their home countries.

Those rescued on Wednesday and Thursday were taken to mainland Sicily where they are able to make refugee claims and receive treatment for health issues. However, several centers face overcrowding, including one on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The center was recently closed after a video was released showing poor living conditions and naked men being hosed down for scabies. The footage caused strong reaction from the public and prompts from the European Union to take the Italian government to court pending adjustment of the conditions.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio