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Libya rescues 450 migrants fleeing to Europe illegally in boats off its western coast

An official says the Libyan navy has rescued 450 migrants off its coastline who were aboard a vessel making an illegal journey to Europe.

Mahmoud al-Akhsham says the migrants were rescued early Monday in Libyan waters near Zwara, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) west of Tripoli. He said most of the migrants are from Eritrea and Syria, and some are Palestinians. He added that women and children were among the Syrians.

Al-Akhsham's remarks came the same day Italy announced it rescued hundreds of migrants sailing from Libya aboard two vessels. Last week alone, over 4,000 migrants reached Italy's shores. Many of the boats set out from Libya's loosely patrolled coast packed with migrants fleeing wars or hardship.

Last year, hundreds died after their boats capsized near Italian shores.