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Morocco says 18 immigrants died during a mass crossing to a Spanish enlave

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Emma Pinedo and Ahmed Eljechtimi

Madrid—Morocco tries to cross the outskirts of Melilla in North Africa on Friday after a fierce two-hour skirmish of immigrants18 Border guards who said that human migrants had died also injured a number of people

Approximately 2,000 migrants attacked a high fence blocking the enlave. According to Moroccan and Spanish officials, more than 100 migrants were able to cross from Morocco to Melilla, which led to clashes with security forces.

Morocco's Interior Ministry initially said five migrants were killed in a border attack, some fell off the fence around Melilla, then other migrants were frustrated and 76 migrants were injured. Stated. Later, he said 13 more people had died.

He added that about 140 members of Moroccan security forces were also injured, five were seriously injured, but none died.

Over the last decade, Melilla and Ceuta, the second Spanish outposts also on the north coast of Africa, have become attractive to most sub-Saharan migrants seeking to enter Europe. I did.

Around 8:40 am, more than 500 migrants began to enter Melilla, cut through the fence with bolt cutters, and then jumped over the roof of the border crossing, a representative from the Madrid government said in a statement. Said in.

Most were forcibly returned, but added that about 130 men managed to reach the excursion and were being processed at the reception center for immigrants.

A video posted on social media shows a large group of young Africans walking on roads around the border invading Melilla and firing tear gas by authorities. It shows how it is celebrating.

Spanish officials said the invasion of the border injured 57 migrants and 49 Spanish police.

'Trafficking Mafia'

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has repelled the "organized and violent attacks" he suggested organized on both sides of the border. I paid tribute to the officer. "Trafficking Mafia."

He emphasized improving the relationship between Madrid and Rabat. In March, Spain recognized Morocco's position in Western Sahara, where North African countries claim to be their own, but Algeria-backed independence movements are demanding the establishment of an autonomous state.

"I would like to thank the extraordinary cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco for showing the need to build the best relationships," he said.

Moroccan human rights watchdog AMD Nador said there was an invasion the day after migrants clashed with Moroccan security personnel trying to clear up a camp in the woods near Melilla.

Watchdog head Omar Naji told Reuters that the clash was a "fierce crackdown" on immigrants as Spanish and Moroccan troops resumed joint patrols and strengthened security measures around the outlying area. He said it was part of it.

The invasion was the first significant since Spain adopted a more pro-Rabat position against Western Sahara.

In the weeks of 2022 prior to the shift, migrants entering the two excursions were more than tripled compared to the same period in 2021.

In mid-2021, there were as many as 8,000 people swimming in Ceuta and climbing fences for two days, security on the Moroccan side of the border following bilateral diplomatic spats. I took advantage of the fact that the net was clearly lifted. (Reported by Emma Pinedo, Christina Thykjaer in Madrid, Ahmed El Jechtimi in Morocco, edited by Aislinn Laing, John Stonestreet, Alex Richardson, David Gregorio)