More than 700 migrants and refugees, including 293 Syrians and Egyptians, were rescued off the coast of Sicily over the weekend, Agency France-Press reported.
The Italian coast guard said it had rescued the migrants from troubled boats on Friday and Saturday, rushing a mother, father and their two young children to the hospital for emergency care, AFP reported.
Tow boats was carrying 293 Syrians and Egyptians were brought Friday to Augusta, on the eastern coast of Sicily, AFP said. The number of refugees trying to reach Italy has increased in recent months because of surging violence in Syria and Egypt.
One boat was carrying 207 migrants from Nigeria, Ghana and Eritrea. Another was carrying 212 migrants, but the coast guard did not specify where the passengers were from.
Among the migrants wasa four-day-old girl born at sea. According to a coastguard commander in the port of Syracuse, both the baby and her mother are in good health.
Mario de Rosa, captain of a navy patrol boat that came to the rescue, said that the refugee boat suffered engine failure in stormy seas.
The Italian Interior Ministry said more than 3,000 Syrians have arrived in Italy this year, AFP reported.