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Up to 170 migrants are feared dead after two accidents in which dinghies sank in the Mediterranean after leaving North Africa for Europe.

One of the vessels capsized off Libya after departing the country on Thursday, prompting the Italian navy to stage a rescue operation.

But Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said that so far only three of the suspected 120 migrants on-board had been found alive.

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