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Weekend migrant wave overwhelms Italian holding center

LAMPEDUSA, Italy, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A wave of migrants saved from troubled boats in the Mediterranean on the weekend swamped a holding center on the island of Lampedusa, Italian officials said.

Overnight, 413 migrants were plucked from three boats in separate rescues, ANSA reported Monday.

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The Italian coast guard evacuated some 215 immigrants from a boat taking on water. They were taken to Lampedusa, where 250 more migrants were being housed after their rescue Saturday night from three other boats.

Those rescues brought to 840 the number of immigrants held at the facility, which has a capacity of 300.

In the other overnight rescues, a Liberian merchant ship picked up 102 migrants from another distressed vessel and took them to Malta.

Authorities directed 96 aboard a third boat back to where they had departed in Libya.

Officials scheduled two airlifts Monday to take migrants held at Lampedusa to other Italian processing centers.

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