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Some 1,400 migrants try to reach Spain from Africa

By Ciaran Giles

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12 2014 8:55 a.m. MDT

Migrants sit inside a vessel of the Spanish sea rescue service after been rescued at the Strait of Gibraltar near the coast of Tarifa, southern Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Some 700 migrants stormed border fences to try to enter Spain’s northwest African enclave city of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday while the sea rescue service said it had picked up some 700 others seeking to enter the country clandestinely by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in boats, officials said.

Marcos Moreno, Associated Press

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MADRID — Some 700 migrants stormed border fences to try to enter Spain's northwest African enclave city of Melilla from Morocco on Tuesday while the sea rescue service said it had picked up another 700 seeking to enter the country clandestinely in boats, officials said.

An Interior Ministry statement said the Melilla migrants used makeshift wooden ladders to try to scale the six-meter (20-foot) 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 stayed atop one of the fences for several hours during the attempt.

Spain's sea rescue service said vessels picked up 681 migrants Tuesday packed into 70 small boats in the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco. The group included 88 women and 20 minors.

On Monday, the service intercepted 299 migrants in 29 boats.

There were no immediate details on the nationalities of the migrants.

Thousands of migrants, most from sub-Saharan African countries, 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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