ROME – A group of 147 asylum-seekers have arrived in Italy as part of a U.N.-backed humanitarian evacuation from Libya.
The U.N. refugee agency says it's the fifth such evacuation since 2017, though previous airlifts have taken migrants to Niger and elsewhere.
The group that arrived Monday at a Rome military base included 87 males and 60 females. Of the total, 68 are minors — 46 of whom are unaccompanied. They hail from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia.
Under anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Italy has essentially closed its ports to migrants fleeing Libya aboard smugglers boats.
Salvini's deputy, Stefano Candiani, said Monday that such evacuations, in which the U.N. screens asylum-seekers in situ, are the way people deserving of protection should arrive in Europe.