Italian navy rescues 233 migrants south of Sicily

The Italian navy has rescued 233mostly African migrants from a 10 meter (yard) boat inMediterranean waters south of Sicily as the immigration crisisthat killed hundreds in shipwrecks in 2013 showed no signs ofletting up in the new year.

The navy picked them up in choppy seas late on Wednesday andwas ferrying them on Thursday to a port near Syracuse onSicily's eastern coast, a statement said.

On board were men and women from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia,Zambia and Mali as well as from Pakistan, the navy said.

Sea arrivals to Italy from Northern Africa more than tripledin 2013, fuelled by refugees from Syria's civil war andpolitical strife in the Horn of Africa.

In October, 366 Eritreans drowned in a shipwreck near theshore of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

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