The Italian coast guard launched a massive operation Sunday to rescue more than 2,000 in difficulty between the Italian Island of Lampedusa and the Libyan coast, local media said. Some 2,164 migrants coming from Libya had to be saved from a dozen boats, Italian media reported, citing the country’s emergency services. By Sunday evening, around 520 migrants were on board an Italian navy ship, the TGcom 24 television station’s website said. More than 900 other migrants were picked up by coastguard and customs police boats while the rest were rescued by various ships in the area, the TV station said. The Italian transport ministry said some of its coastguard had been threatened by four armed men who approached them by speedboat from the Libyan Coast. The Kalashnikov wielding men forced the rescuers to return a boat that had been emptied of migrants, the ministry said in a statement. Last year, more than 3,200 people died while attempting to reach Italy by boat from North Africa. The United Nations has described the sea crossing as the most dangerous route in the world.