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Some 1,000 migrants try to reach Spain from Africa

African migrants climb a border fence during a latest attempt to cross into Spanish territory, between Morocco and Spain's north African enclave of Melilla August 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Jesus Blasco de Avellaneda)

MADRID: Some 700 migrants stormed a border fence to try to enter Spain's northwest African enclave city of Melilla from Morocco Tuesday while the sea rescue service said it had picked up some 500 others trying to enter the country clandestinely by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in boats, officials said.

An Interior Ministry statement said the Melilla migrants used makeshift wooden ladders to try to scale the six-meter barbed-wire fences, and threw stones at police. Some 30 migrants managed to enter the city. Three were treated for minor injuries.

The statement said around 50 migrants were still atop the fence several hours later.

A spokesman for the sea rescue service said vessels picked up 470 migrants packed into 49 small boats in waters separating Spain from Morocco early Tuesday.

The service intercepted 299 migrants in 29 boats Monday.

Thousands of migrants try to enter Spain from northwest Africa by land or sea each year in a bid to reach Europe in search of a better life.

The boat migrants were taken to the southern port of Tarifa for medical attention by the Spanish Red Cross. They were given blankets and water on arrival. All were said to be in good health.

The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because of the service's rules preventing staff from being identified.

 

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