Shameful criticism of migrant rescue operation says Italian PM

There has been “shameful” criticism by anti-immigrant parties like the Northern League of Italy’s Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) search-and-rescue operation to avert migrant disasters in the Mediterranean, Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday. He said the op that picks up all comers off rickety boats sailing from North Africa had averted “a hundred” possible recurrences of last year’s twin wrecks at the stepping-stone island of Lampedusa that took 400 lives.

The Navy said Friday some 4,000 migrants have been rescued in the last six days as good weather and increased work by people traffickers swell the flow.

On Wednesday Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti defended the humanitarian operation patrolling Italy’s southernmost borders, saying 27,790 illegal immigrants have been rescued and more than 200 human traffickers arrested.