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Italy rescues some 80 migrants adrift on a raft in the Mediterranean

July 3, 2013 at 9:49 AM   |   Comments

LAMPEDUSA, Italy, July 3 (UPI) -- Some 80 migrants adrift on a raft 80 miles off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa have all been rescued, the Italian navy said Wednesday.

A navy ship and two coast guard vessels picked up the migrants, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Earlier reports indicated some members of the group were missing.

There was no word on exactly where the migrants were from.

However, the coast guard said the group included 10 women, four of whom are pregnant.

Pope Francis has chosen Lampedusa for his first trip outside Rome in an effort to show solidarity with the tens of thousands of refugees who head for the small island, the Vatican said.

Immigration from North Africa picks up in summer months as conditions in the Mediterranean improve.

The pope is scheduled to celebrate mass at an immigration center on Lampedusa that has been plagued by overcrowding.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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