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Migrants storm Spanish border

February 28, 2014

More than 200 migrants have crossed a border fence into Spain's north African territory of Melilla. It is one of the largest such crossings in years and the second of its kind this week.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Some 300 people attempted the dawn assault to cross into Spain's northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco on Friday, with more than 200 people making it across, Spanish authorities said.

"They were singing songs of joy through various parts of the city," the Spanish government authority in Melilla said in a statement. In order to reach the city migrants had to breach a six-meter (20 foot)-high barbed wire border fence.

The assault began at 6:00 a.m., it said with migrants assembled on the Moroccan side of the border.

"The crossing was marked by throwing of all kinds of objects - stones, sticks and bottles - at police," the statement said.

It was the latest in a series of coordinated assaults by African migrants on the border of Melilla, which is surrounded by Morocco.

Thousands of migrants attempt to breach the border each year along with Spain's other coastal enclave, Ceuta. Both locations, which sit across the Mediterranean from mainland Spain, are the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

On February 6, at least 15 migrants drowned while trying to enter Ceuta by sea.

A local immigration center that can accommodate some 500 people has overflowed in recent days, brimming with more than 1,000 people.

On February 17 about 150 African migrants made it into Melilla in another mass assault by migrants bearing sticks and stones.

Most recently, on Monday, some 500 migrants stormed the fence with about 100 making it over in what an official described as a "very violent" assault that left more than two dozen people injured.

hc/rg (AFP, AP)