Eighteen migrants die in attempted crossing into Spanish enclave

World

Eighteen migrants have died during an attempted crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, Moroccan authorities have said.

Around 2,000 migrants stormed a high fence that seals off Spain’s North African enclave in a violent-two hour skirmish with border officers.

It marked the first incursion since Spain and Morocco mended diplomatic relations last month.

Morocco’s interior ministry said the casualties occurred when people tried to climb an iron fence.

It originally reported that five migrants had been killed, 76 had been injured and 140 Moroccan security officers were hurt but later revised the figures.

Friday’s attempt to cross the border began at around 6:40am, with more than 500 migrants starting to enter Melilla within just two hours, the Madrid government’s representative body said in a statement.

Most were forced back but around 130 men managed to reach the enclave and were being processed at its reception centre for immigrants, it added.

Footage posted on social media showed large groups of youths walking along roads around the border, celebrating entering Melilla and the firing of, what appeared to be, tear gas by the authorities.

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