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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spain Invaded by the Moors Again

500 migrants storm fence at Moroccan/Spanish border
By Eric DuVall 

Dozens of migrants celebrate after they managed to cross and jump the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Ceuta on the African continent. Some 500 migrants made the crossing, though most were detained. Photo by Reduan/EPA

(UPI) -- Nearly 500 migrants smashed through a fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Ceuta in an attempt to gain access to the European continent.

Ceuta regional government officials said 498 people, some wielding clubs, attempted to break through multiple gates in the 20-foot fence. An estimated 200 people were prevented from crossing and dozens of the migrants required medical treatment after trying to scale the fence, which is topped with razor wire. Eleven Spanish police officers were also injured during the incident.

Many of those who successfully broke through the barrier celebrated on Spanish land, draped in European flags while shouting "freedom."

Most of those detained on Spanish soil are taken to a detention center, ITV reported. From there they are either repatriated or formally seek asylum as political refugees.

Ceuta is one of two Spanish enclaves on the African continent. It is separated from mainland Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar. The areas are the only parts of the Eurozone that share a land border with Africa, making them popular spots for migrants seeking entry into Europe to attempt a border crossing.

The last attempted mass border crossing at Ceuta came on New Year's Day, and included 1,100 migrants.

CEUTA, Spain, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Five Spanish policemen and 50 Moroccan security force members were injured when more than 1,100 migrants attempted to rush the border fence separating Morocco from Spain's Ceuta enclave.

"[Migrants tried] to force open some of the doors in the external fence, using iron bars, wire cutters and large stones with which they assaulted Moroccan forces and [Spanish] Guardia Civil [police] agents," officials with a central government office in Ceuta said in a released statement.

Officials said the attempt to cross the border was well organized and violent in nature. The rush began in the early hours of New Year's Day morning. Hundreds successfully scaled the first of two barbed wire fences, and some attempted to breach doors in the second fence using wire cutters.

Only two men successfully made it over both fences, but both were badly injured and taken to the hospital for treatment. The rest were returned to Morocco. Many men sat straddling the top of the first fence for several hours before being lifted down by cranes.

The Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta are the only two land borders connecting North Africa to Europe. African immigrants have long sought to make their way past the newly reinforced fences and apply for asylum and resettlement in Europe. Few are successful. Human rights groups have criticized Spain in the past for returning migrants without offering them the chance to apply for asylum.