More than 10 people died in a rescue operation during which hundreds of immigrants in an operation coordinated by the Armed Forces of Malta last night.

Those rescued are on their way to Italy and the dead on their way to Malta. They are expected to arrive at around noon tomorrow.

A spokesman for the government said about 400 migrants were in a boat that was taking in water. They were in Malta’s search and rescue area but closer to Lampedusa.

An Italian merchant ship that was in the area was requested to assist but 10 people or more, including a baby, died possibly in a stampede during the rescue. They were found dead in the vessel’s hold.

The baby is on the way to Italy with the parents, who refused to let it go.

The spokesman said that many rescues have been taking place in the past four days as thousands made the Mediterranean crossing to Europe from Libya. They have all been taken by Italy but the AFM has assisted in the operations.

The AFM said that, since Thursday, its operations centre coordinated four operations in which 1,062 migrants. At the same time, Italian Forces rescued another 4,000 migrants.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat thanked the AFM for its role in the rescues.

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