March 3, 2011

New migrant boat lands in Italy from Tunisia

A boat carrying 347 illegal migrants from Tunisia has reached Italy, raising fears of a new wave of crossings after a week of bad weather.

The fishing boat brought the migrants to the tiny island of Lampedusa, less than 160km (100 miles) across the Mediterranean from the Tunisian coast.

Thousands have arrived since mid-February, amid unrest in Tunisia.

Italy's Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, said there were fears of illegal migration from Libya too.

There were, he said, 1.5 million illegal migrants inside Libya.

"They are now fleeing to the west [Tunisia] and to the east [Egypt] but I expect in the future they could also head north [towards Italy]," he told parliament.

Mr Maroni, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League, warned of a "catastrophic humanitarian emergency" when he met fellow EU interior ministers in Brussels last week.

Other EU officials said Rome was over-reacting to the crisis across the Mediterranean.

Read full article here.

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