More than 150 migrants in small boats rescued off Greece’s Aegean Sea islands

ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities on Friday rescued more than 150 people, including several children, who were heading in small boats from Turkey to the nearby eastern Aegean Sea islands, the coast guard said.

The rescues came amid a rise in crossings to European Union member Greece by people from the Middle East and Africa seeking a better life in the wealthy 27-country bloc.

The coast guard said 101 people were picked up from boats off the island of Lesbos in three separate instances Friday, and another 53 were found on two vessels off Samos.

All were taken to reception centers for asylum-seekers.

The coast guard also said another 35 people were picked up from two small boats off Lesbos late Thursday.

That raises the total number of rescues on Wednesday and Thursday to almost 500.

Despite the increase in migration to Greece, Italy is the main entry point in the EU for migrants with about 113,000 arrivals so far this year and Spain follows with more than 21,000, according to United Nations figures. The figure for Greece is 17,300.


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