TRIPOLI, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan navy said on Thursday that it rescued 53 illegal immigrants off the country's western coast.
According to the navy spokesman Ayob Qassem, the immigrants were rescued in two separate operations.
In the first operation, 30 immigrants were rescued off the coastal city of Sabratha, some 60 km west of the capital Tripoli.
The second operation took place off the coastal city of Mellita, some 120 km west of Tripoli, with 23 immigrants rescued.
The rescued immigrants have been provided with humanitarian and medical assistance and taken to a reception center.
Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean toward European shores becasue of insecurity and instability in the North African nation after the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime.