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U.S. helps rescue migrants off Libya coast

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

MISURATA – Over a hundred migrants stranded in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya were rescued after U.S. military personnel heard their distress signal on July 21, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said.

“A U.S. Africa Command unit conducting surveillance off the coast of North Africa picked up a distress signal from an inflatable vessel with 131 passengers aboard that was deflating in the sea approximately 80 kilometers northwest of Misrata, Libya,” AFRICOM said in a statement on Tuesday.

After receiving the distress signal via radio, U.S. Air Forces Africa responded to the distress beacon and coordinated with Libyan and Maltese naval authorities for rescue aid.

“Our routine surveillance along the North Africa Coast gave us an opportunity to lend a helping hand,” said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM commander. “U.S. forces have a long-standing tradition of helping mariners in distress and providing humanitarian assistance.”

All 131 migrants were eventually rescued and brought back to Libya by the Tripoli-based coast guard.

“U.S. leadership helped achieve unity of effort,” said Townsend. “International partnership remains important to addressing mutual challenges. In this case, collective contributions helped save lives.”

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