Maltese troops rescue 216 migrants: report

The Armed Forces of Malta rescued 216 migrants who were adrift and in distress onboard two rubber boats inside the Maltese Search and Rescue Region late on Friday, Times of Malta reported on Saturday.

According to the report, at least one pregnant women and a number of minors were believed to be among those migrants. The migrants reached Malta on Saturday morning.

The Armed Forces of Malta said in the past two days departure of migrants from Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria increased, resulting in 12 migrant boats disembarking in the southern coast of Sicily, Sardinia, and Lampedusa.

Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Migrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of people who were rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan security services.