Updated - Adds Italian coastguard statement on 4,700 rescued today - Signs of stabbings were found among a group of migrants rescued between Malta and Libya this morning.

A number of asylum seekers claimed they were beaten up and robbed just before being put on a boat. They were picked up by the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (Moas).

The migrants were treated by doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières and are now on their way to Italy. None of the migrants are in serious condition.

The Moas vessel Phoenix rescued 301 migrants, mostly men from West Africa, in three operations.

Meanwhile, a five-year old girl died and as many as 13 migrants may be missing at sea off the Greek island of Lesbos, the Greek coastguard said today. 


Nearly 4,700 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya today as they tried to reach Europe but one woman was found dead, Italy's coastguard said. 

The coastguard said in a statement it had coordinated 20 rescue operations involving numerous vessels which picked up 4,343 migrants from rubber boats and barges. In one of the inflatable boats a woman's body was found, the coastguard said, without specifying the possible cause of death.

Another 335 people were picked up as part of a rescue mission coordinated by Greece and were being directed to a port in Italy to disembark.

The rescues were carried out by vessels from the Italian coastguard and navy, humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders, Mos, a merchant boat, a Croatian vessel under the European Union's Triton rescue mission and naval ships from Germany and Britain under the EU's EUNAVFOR Med mission. 

The rescues took place as Europe grapples with a flow of refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and Africa.

European leaders will once again be meeting in Brussels on Wednesday for an extraordinary summit to tackle the migrant crisis. It will be held a day after interior ministers make their second attempt in little more than a week to break a deadlock on proposals by the EU executive to redistribute 120,000 asylum-seekers around the 28-nation bloc.


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