Italian police say they have broken up a migrant-smuggling ring allegedly organized by Tunisian extremists. Italy was another of the eight countries that agreed to let in migrants from the Sea-Watch and Sea-Eye ships. One man formed the shape of a heart with his hands as he stepped off a Maltese military boat.
A mother and a child disembark from a patrol boat in Malta.
In December, the 49 people were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by ships operated by non-governmental organizations.
The deal also meets Malta's demand for other countries to take numerous 249 migrants Maltese military vessels rescued in late December. He said that Germany still aims to reach "a long-term and sustainable mechanism".
Resources on the island of 450,000 are being "stretched" by the migrants already in detention centres.
A child is transferred to a coastguard vessel to be taken to Malta.
"I am and remain absolutely against any new arrivals in Italy", Mr Salvini said on Twitter. Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte offered to take in some of Malta's migrants, saying there was a limit to the policy of "rigour".
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The eight countries that will take them in include Italy, whose anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, had vowed for days that none would reach Italian soil. "Every hour that passed without a solution was not an hour I was proud of", he said. European Union border agency Frontex says about 57,000 migrant crossings were detected past year in Spain, twice as many as during 2017.
A further 44 Bangledishi migrants which had been rescued by Malta will be deported to their home country in an operation that will be coordinated by European Union authorities.
Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addresses a press conference at his office in Valletta, Malta January 9, 2019.
Another German charity, Sea-Eye, rescued 17 others a week later on 29 December.
Malta has announced that it will allow two ships, stranded for weeks with 49 migrants and refugees on board, to dock.
"The operation to transfer the migrants onto AFM vessels will start as soon as possible, after which the NGO boats will be asked to leave our waters immediately".
The vast majority of the total of nearly 300 migrants will be shared among Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy and Malta, Muscat said.
The European Union's border agency Frontex says about 57,000 migrant crossings were detected a year ago in Spain, double the figure for 2017. The gang took the arriving migrants by truck to safe houses.