" --IANS/EFE"
Madrid, Aug 12 (IANS/EFE) More than 1,300 African migrants Tuesday tried to enter Spain illegally by sea and land in one of the biggest rushes for a better life in Europe in nearly a decade.

Spain's Maritime Rescue salvaged 681 African migrants in the Strait of Gibraltar as they tried to reach Spanish soil in dinghies, a day after 300 other people, including women and children, were found on inflatable rafts in the area, as good weather and calm seas encouraged them to make the perilous journey.

Meanwhile, some 700 Africans Tuesday assaulted the high fences separating Morocco and the Spanish autonomous city of Melilla in northern Africa in an attempt to enter Spanish territory, security officials said.

This was the second time illegal migrants made it to Melilla since July 1, when the Spanish government installed a special anti-climb mesh fencing to reinforce the border, officials said.

The migrants, who divided into two groups, rushed to the fences after throwing stones and other objects at Moroccan and Spanish police trying to stop them and used ladders to overcome the barriers, the security sources said.

Thirty of them managed to sort out the fences and after breaking one of the entrance doors reached Spanish territory, where three received medical assistance for cuts and bruises.

Some of them said they had come from Cameroon and that they were very happy to have reached the other side.

Migrant pressure on Melilla is constant and this year some 3,500 immigrants have entered Spain illegally.

--IANS/EFE

vr/vm


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