(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
TRIPOLI - Libya's coastal guard has rescued more than 250 illegal migrants trying to leave the North African country in small boats bound for Italy, officials said on Saturday.
Libya's western shores are the main departure point for migrants mainly from sub-Saharan countries fleeing poverty and conflict trying to reach Europe.
Arrivals to Italy have fallen by two-thirds since July from the same period last year after officials working for the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, Italy's partner, managed to cut back human smuggling in the city of Sabratha west of the capital.
That has pushed the trade further east, with the coast guard intercepting several boats off the coast near Qaraboulli and Zliten, two towns located east of Tripoli.