06:49 GMT24 January 2021
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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    UN refugee agency's spokesman Federico Fossi reported that since Wednesday a lot of African migrants had been transferred from the overcrowded Lampedusa migrant reception center.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – The situation at Lampedusa migrant reception center has improved noticeably, with the number of people there having halved, UN refugee agency's (UNHCR) spokesman Federico Fossi told Sputnik on Thursday.

    Since the beginning of the week the migrant reception center at Italy's Lampedusa Island has been overcrowded due to a massive influx of newly arriving Africans. The capacity of the reception center is four times less than the number of migrants who stayed there on Tuesday.

    "But since the day after [Wednesday], and even today, many people are being transferred to other locations all over the country… So at the moment there are 600 people in the center. The situation improved a lot, and especially women and the vulnerable are being transferred to other reception centers in Sicily and in other regions," Federico Fossi, who had just come from Lampedusa, said.

    Fossi explained that the Lampedusa center is the first port of call for arriving migrants, and as such people should not be kept there for more than 48 hours.

    Migrants who found assistance at the Lampedusa center were among 3,800 people who have been rescued in the Mediterranean since Friday.

    The current political instability in Libya raises the possibility of a further migrant exodus to Europe. Moreover, the Italian media reported that the Islamic State is threatening to send half a million migrants to Europe as a "psychological weapon", if there is a military intervention against the group in Libya.

    In early February, Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for several attacks in Libya. In recent weeks, the extremists have reportedly taken over a Libyan state-run television station in Sirte, as well as two radio stations.

    Last Sunday, the radical Sunni group released a video showing the beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya, triggering Egypt to retaliate by bombing militant positions.

    By the middle of February, arrivals in Italy by sea are already in excess of the total number for January, according to Italy's Ministry of Interior.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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