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The Latest: Austrian soldiers to help stop migrant entries

The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Austrian officials say 70 soldiers are being sent to the border with Italy to help police stop the entry of illegal migrants over Austria's southwestern flank.

Senior police official Helmut Tomac and Herbert Bauer of the Austrian army say the move is in response to increased instances of migrants trying to hitch rides over the border under the carriages of freight wagons.

Austrian border controls are a sensitive issue in Rome. The Brenner Pass connecting the two countries is one of the principal routes connecting Italy with northern Europe and is particularly heavily used during the summer vacation season.

Austrian officials have said they are ready to deploy armored vehicles there to prevent migrants reaching Austria. But Tomac said Wednesday no such moves are being planned.

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12:45

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has picked up 339 migrants from seven boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco.

The rescue service says the migrants were taken by three maritime rescue ships to Spain's southern town of Tarifa, located across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco. The migrant boats were intercepted separately early Wednesday.

The service said one boat had 34 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries. It said the rest of the migrants were from the Maghreb countries of northwest Africa.

Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa attempt the perilous crossing to Europe in smugglers' boats each year and thousands drown along the way.