CAIRO: Libya’s coast guard has intercepted more than 150 migrants, including women and children, in the Mediterranean Sea.
It says two boats were stopped Saturday off the coast of the western Zuwara district and the capital, Tripoli. It says the boats were carrying 152 migrants, including 19 women and three children.
The migrants, who were from African and Arab countries, were taken a naval base in Tripoli.
Libya was plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising and is now split between rival governments in the east and west, each backed by an array of militias.
The chaos has made it a popular route to Europe for migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.
Libya has worked to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.
Spain rescues 231 migrants
Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has saved 231 migrants trying the cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.
The rescue service says its patrol craft intercepted six different boats carrying migrants that had left from African shores throughout Saturday.
Driven by violent conflicts and extreme poverty, tens of thousands of migrants attempt to reach southern Europe each year by crossing the Mediterranean in smugglers’ boats. Most of the boats are unfit for open water, and thousands drown annually.
The UN says at least 785 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. Through the first five months of 2018, a total of 27,482 migrants reached European shores, with 7,614 of them arriving in Spain.