Updated 12.02pm

Seven migrants who were rescued off Lampedusa and brought to Malta will be reunited with their children in Agrigento tonight.

The migrants - two couples and two fathers, one of the latter, Hatim Shabar, accompanied by his four-year-old son Haider, thanked the Maltese authorities for the rescue and for enabling them to be reunited with their children who during the same rescue operation were taken to Italy.

They looked tense and still not wanting to believe they were actually reuniting with their children, whom they have never spoken to since the tragedy, not even over the phone.

As he was waiting at the airport, Mr Shabar said that in Italy he was going to be reunited with his-seven-year-old son. There, he would also try to find or identify his wife and another son who are still missing. Another son who was also on the same trip, has been declared dead.

The migrants were seen off by Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia. He said that the Maltese Government is paying for their travel expenses and the process was underway to identify and reunite other families.

Dr Mallia encouraged the migrants to hope for a better future.

The migrants were among 143 migrants rescued off Lampedusa on October 11. They included parents who recognised their children in Italy from TV footage and from photographs sent by the Italian authorities to Malta.

DNA checking was made to confirm the claims before the reunifications.

Passports and documents were issued by the Maltese authorities so that those in Malta could travel to Italy.

The group included a woman whose 18-month daughter was rescued by the Italian Navy.

During the October 11 tragedy, the AFM managed to rescue 143 migrants, while the Italian Navy took another 56. Around 50 others drowned.

A funeral for two children who died in the tragedy is being held on Friday.


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