TRIPOLI, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that more than 600 illegal immigrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast in the past week.
"In the week of 23-29 June, 618 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya," the IOM tweeted.
The organization also said that 5,475 illegal immigrants, including women and children, have been rescued and returned to Libya so far this year, compared with 9,225 in 2019.
The state of insecurity and chaos in Libya that followed the 2011 fall of the previous Muammar Gaddafi's government encourages thousands of immigrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards European shores.
The IOM has repeatedly stressed that Libya is not a safe disembarkation point for rescued migrants.
The IOM had been running the Voluntary Humanitarian Return program that arranges the return of illegal immigrants stranded in Libya back to their countries of origin. Enditem