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Italy Rescues Over 480 Migrants, Recovers Seven Dead

Migrants on board a drifting, overcrowded wooden boat react during a rescue operation by the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, north of the Libyan city of Sabratha in the central Mediterranean Sea, in March.

Over 480 asylum seekers and refugees have been rescued in the Mediterranean as they attempted to make the dangerous journey from North Africa, with seven bodies recovered.

Italy's coast guard said on May 14 that 484 migrants were rescued from dinghies in four separate operations on May 13 on one of the world's busiest migration routes.

More than 45,000 people have been rescued and brought to Italy so far this year, a 44 percent from the same period in 2016, Italy's Interior Ministry said.

At least 1,309 have died or are feared dead on the journey, the International Organization for Migration said.

Nigerians make up the largest group, followed by people from Bangladesh, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. They pay Libya-based smugglers to organize the journey.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa