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IMMIGRATION

150 migrants cross into Melilla in latest mass border jump

Another 200 get stuck in space between security fences separating Spain and Morocco

The latest mass attempt to jump the Melilla border.

Around 150 African migrants managed to clear the fence separating Moroccan territory from the Spanish exclave of Melilla early Thursday morning.

Around 400 people, divided into two groups, made a coordinated run on the six-meter-high, chain-link fence, which is topped with concertina wire, at around 6am. Of these, half made it into the narrow space between the two strips of fence that make up the border.

A further 150 made it all the way into Spanish territory and the local CETI temporary immigrant holding center, where illegal migrants receive food and medical assistance before they are taken to mainland Spain. The law prohibits immediate deportations of migrants once they are on Spanish soil.

Around 400 people, divided into two groups, made a coordinated run on the fence at around 6am

The hugs and cries of “Bosa, bosa” (Victory, victory) of migrants reaching the CETI have become familiar sights in Melilla and Spain's other north African exclave of Ceuta, which are the targets of thousands of sub-Saharans trying to reach Europe. The number of people attempting to get across from Morocco has grown significantly this year: over 1,600 undocumented migrants made it into Spain in the first three months of 2014, more than in the whole of the previous year.

Local authorities in both Spanish exclaves have demanded financial and logistical assistance to deal with the migratory pressure, and Spain in turn has requested aid from Brussels. Madrid is also cooperating with Moroccan authorities to repel migrants as they try to charge the fences.

On April 25, the Spanish cabinet approved emergency measures to reinforce the border fences in Ceuta and Melilla. The €2.1 million project includes installing an anti-climb mesh on both security perimeters.

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