Thousands flee Tunisia as sea calms

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The Independent Online

The return of calm conditions to the Mediterranean Sea has seen a fresh wave of fleeing North African migrants threatening to overwhelm the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. More than 1,000 illegal immigrants landed between 6pm on Sunday and 11am on Monday, carried on 12 boats from Tunisia, coastguards report. The island's reception centre was again unable to cope and Interior Minister Roberto Maroni ordered more flights to take the migrants to other centres in southern Italy. More than 7,000 migrants from Tunisia have arrived in Italy, mainly in Lampedusa, since President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in January.

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