Over 1,000 Migrants Arrive on Italian Island of Lampedusa

Fifteen boats carrying over 1,000 migrants arrived on the southern island of Lampedusa on May 9, local media reported.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that one of the boats carried nearly 400 migrants alone.

ANSA also reported that the Italian tax police, who handle financial crime and smuggling, intercepted some of the boats off the coast of the island, which is one of the main landing ports for people trying to reach Europe.

Mayor Toto Martello said that the increase of migrants coincided with the good weather and officials said they expected the numbers to further increase.

“We need to restart discussions about the immigration issue,” Martello told Italian public broadcaster RAI.

The arrival of the migrants prompted Italy’s far-right League Party Leader Matteo Salvini to call for a meeting with Prime Minister Mario Draghi, calling it “necessary.”

“With millions of Italians in difficulty, we cannot think of thousands of illegal immigrants,” Salvini stated on Twitter.

More boats were seen off the coast of nearby Malta.

Alarm Phone, an independent hotline for people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to the European Union, have been reporting on the boats off the Maltese coast.

“One rescue operation could put a total of around 231 people out of danger of drowning,” Alarm Phone said.

According to data from the interior ministry, around 11,00 migrants have arrived on Lampedusa since the beginning of the year.

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