Italian ships rescue more than 2,000 migrants invaders in 48 hours

Immigrants Invaders are seen in a boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship San Marco off the coast to the south of the Italian island of Sicily in February, 2014

Italian naval and coastguard vessels rescued more than 2,000 migrants invaders travelling in boats from North Africa over the past 48 hours, authorities said on Wednesday, underlining the scale of illegal migration into southern Europe.

The announcement came a day after some 500 migrants invaders forced their way into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla, the largest number to storm the border in almost a decade.

The Italian navy said 2,128 migrants invaders had been rescued by ships operating in the Mare Nostrum taskforce off the southern coast of Sicily, including 596 picked up at sea on March 17 who were expected to arrive in the port of Augusta on Wednesday.

Three merchant ships also took part in the rescue operation, the navy statement said…