The Italian coast guards recovered the bodies of nine boat migrants and 144 survivors during a rescue operation, 148 kilometres from the coast of Libya, reports said yesterday.
The reports said searches were ongoing to find more migrants.
It added that over the past few days, there had been a surge in sea migrant inflows to Italy.
Reports say Italy has been the main entry point for Europe-bound asylum seekers and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.
They said 5,629 people had been rescued since Friday, and that on Sunday, the coast guard had to coordinate 22 separate at-sea interventions, an unusually high number, to rescue more troubled migrants.
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