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BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Libya's coast guard says it has intercepted a rubber boat carrying dozens of Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the country's Mediterranean coast.
Ayoub Gassim, a coast guard spokesman, said Monday that 85 migrants — among them five women and five children — were given humanitarian and medical aid, then taken to a refugee camp.
He says the boat was caught off the coast of the town of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli. After being picked up, the migrants were returned to Khoms.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and later killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.
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