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The death toll rises as rescue organizations discover another body in the sea off the coast of Libya


ROME (Reuters) – Another body was spotted off the coast of Libya on Saturday, a day after a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) rescue ship recovered the bodies of 11 migrants in the same area of ​​the Mediterranean and said it had found more than 160 people from boats.

Nonprofit group Sea Watch said on social media platform X that its plane spotted the body on Saturday.

“Yesterday our aircrew observed eleven bodies, and so far one more has been discovered during today’s flight. ​​The flight and search continue,” the German-based non-profit organization said.

The United Nations has recorded more than 20,000 deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean since 2014, making it the most dangerous migrant crossing in the world.

Doctors Without Borders says its search and rescue vessel Geo Barents picked up 146 migrants during two operations and then found another 20 in a separate boat. They also retrieved the bodies of eleven people seen by the Sea Watch aircraft.

“We don’t know the exact cause of this tragedy, but we do know that people are still dying in a desperate attempt to get to safety. This slaughter must end,” Doctors Without Borders said on X.

The eleven bodies must be transferred to an Italian coast guard ship and then temporarily disembarked on the island of Lampedusa, Italian media reported on Saturday.

Italy has urged Tunisia and Libya to do more to prevent potential migrants from taking to the sea. It has also restricted the operations of rescue ships, saying they encourage people to go to Europe – something the charities deny.

Underscoring the restrictions, Italy told Geo Barents on Friday to take its latest group of migrants to the northern port of Genoa, more than 650 nautical miles away and far from the more convenient ports in nearby Sicily.

“This will significantly delay aid to survivors, who have already endured a lot,” MSF said.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer in Rome, Francesca Landini in Milan; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Alexander Smith)

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