More than 1,100 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

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An estimated 1,151 migrants were pulled from boats in the Mediterranean Monday in 11 rescue operations by Italian authorities off the coast of Libya, a news report said.

The rescued migrants were being transported to the Italian ports of Lampedusa and Pozzallo, according to Ansa news agency.

Also Monday, the European Council announced the second phase of the EU operation to tackle the surging numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, and renamed it Operation Sophia.

From October 7, officers “will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling” in international waters, it said.

The first phase focussed on dealing with the influx of migrants, and only allowed voluntary boarding of vessels.

The second stage, which aims to reduce the capacities of people smugglers, was approved in mid-September but was held up while contributing states mustered the resources.

The operation was renamed Sophia from EUNAVFOR, after a baby girl born to a Somalian migrant during a rescue by a German vessel.

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