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Libyan coast guard intercepts some 140 Europe-bound migrants

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Libya's coast guard said Tuesday it intercepted two boats carrying around 140 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the country's Mediterranean coast. Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said the first rubber vessel had 92 African and Bengali migrants, including 11 women and four children. They were intercepted a day earlier off the coast of the western town of Garaboli, 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli.

Gassim said the second boat with 44 Moroccans and an Egyptian was intercepted Tuesday north of the Bouri offshore oil field, around 105 kilometers (65 miles) from Tripoli. All of the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and then taken to a refugee camp in the Tajoura district of eastern Tripoli, he said.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

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