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Nearly 100 migrants arrive in Palermo, Italy

Nearly 100 migrants arrived in Palermo, Italy on Saturday after being rescued at sea.

Estimated 20,000 migrants have reached Italian coast since start of 2014

One of several migrants rescued in the Mediterranean on Saturday is helped as she disembarks from a Coast Guard boat in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo. (Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters)

Nearly 100 migrants arrived in Palermo, Italy on Saturday after being rescued at sea.

Rescue workers in white forensic suits could be seen waiting portside in the Sicilian city as a boat carrying the migrants docked.

Libya is the closest point in North Africa to Italy, Europe's biggest gateway for migrants. However, the departure point for this latest group was not immediately clear.
 
Around 20,000 migrants have reached the Italian coast since the start of 2014, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates. More than 10,000 arrived in the past week alone.

Pope Francis on Saturday thanked Italy for rescuing and sheltering refugees and is asking the European Union to do
more to help Italy with the mounting numbers of people needing rescue in the Mediterranean on risky boat journeys to flee war, persecution or poverty.

After meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Vatican Saturday, Francis said it's "evident the proportions of the phenomenon require much boarder involvement."

Italy says it will continue saving migrants abandoned at sea by smugglers but is demanding that the European Union increase assistance to shelter and rescue them.

With files from The Associated Press

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