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EU leaders triple the bloc’s budget for patrols off Libya

EU leaders are now seeking UN Security Council approval for military action against smugglers in chaos-ridden Libya. But rights groups have blasted the Europe for focusing on patrols rather than humanitarian efforts.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has also urged the European Union to refrain from resorting to force.
Video released by the Italian coastguard on Sunday showed people crammed onto a small boat. The migrants are later seen clambering aboard a rescue vessel.
Saturday’s operations in the Mediterranean involved four Italian coastguard vessels, two Italian navy ships and two customs boats, as well as four cargo ships and tugs.
French patrol boat Commandant Birot, which was sent last week to boost the EU’s Operation Triton patrols dealing with the influx of migrant boats, also picked up 219 people off the coast of Libya Saturday.
Most of the migrants rescued Saturday were being taken to Sicily or southern Italy, while some had already landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
However two suspected people traffickers were to be handed over to police at the port of Crotone in Calabria in southern Italy.
Several hundred migrants, mostly Africans but also including many fleeing the civil war in Syria, set out from Libya every day, hoping to make it to Europe to start a new life.
The number of migrants entering the EU illegally in 2014 almost tripled to 276,000, according to Frontex, nearly 220,000 of them arriving via the Mediterranean.
Some 1,750 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year, 30 times more than during the same period in 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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