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Over 4,000 migrants have been rescued in the Central Mediterranean in the past 24 hours, raising the number of arrivals to Italy to 90,000 since the start of the year, according to rescue organisations on Thursday.
The Italian Coast Guard said the latest rescue concluded earlier in the day and involved 20 operations carried out by Italian military personnel and boats from the European Union's (EU) EUNavforMed mission as well as NGOs deployed in the area, reports Efe news.
The newest arrivals meant that more than 90,000 migrants had now been rescued and taken to Italian ports so far this year -- a 20 per cent increase year on year, according to Interior Ministry data.
The ministry said that Italy could see more than 200,000 arrivals in 2017, in excess of the 180,000 people who reached Italian soil last year.
Italy has been bearing the brunt of the flow of migration to Europe, while some other EU countries have refused entry to migrants.
Interior Minister Marco Minniti was in Libya on Thursday to address the problem, given that 97 per cent of migrants who are rescued in the Central Med embark on their journeys from Libyan shores.
Italy is the only country to have reopened its embassy in Tripoli and has donated four boats to the government of Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj for the Libyan Coast Guard.