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New assault on the Melilla fence causes 18 deaths and hundreds of Moroccan policemen injured

Hundreds of immigrants of sub-Saharan origin have made a new assault on the Melilla fence.
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PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -  

Melilla has witnessed the first massive assault by immigrants since last March when Spain and Morocco ended the diplomatic crisis that had been going on for eight months.

During this assault, according to the latest information, 18 migrants died trying to jump the fence. According to the authorities in Nador, the deceased were trapped while trying to force their way in. On the other hand, around twenty are in a serious condition.

According to initial reports, dozens of people of sub-Saharan origin have managed to gain access to Melilla after breaking through the access gate that connects the Chinatown border post, a technique that has not been used before and which has surprised the security forces.

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REUTERS/JESÚS BLASCO DE AVELLANEDA  -  File photo. African migrants sitting on top of a border fence during an attempt to cross into Spanish territory, between Morocco and the North African enclave of Melilla.

According to the Government Delegation, this is a "perfectly organised and violent" group, which has led to a larger police deployment. In addition, images reportedly broadcast by Spanish TVE show several military vehicles that have approached the area, although military sources have denied that military personnel had been deployed to prevent this new assault. They claim that these images coincided with the moment when they were moving from one point to another in the city.

The attacking group, which would have consisted of 400 people, was first detected approaching the fence at 6:40 this morning. Immediately, the Guardia Civil's anti-intrusion mechanism was alerted, which led to the mobilisation of dozens of agents from the National Police, as well as Moroccan troops.

 

However, this joint mobilisation did not manage to prevent the immigrants from gaining access to Spanish territory two hours later by jumping over the roof of the border post. The group is now being regrouped at the Temporary Stay Centre in Melilla. Some of them are reported to have been injured.

The assault finally took place at around 8:40 a.m. in spite of the "extensive" arrangements that were also made by the Moroccan forces, which would have facilitated "active and coordinated collaboration with the State Security Forces and Corps".

In the same way, some 120 Moroccan agents were injured after preventing another group of immigrants, about 500, from carrying out the same strategy to approach the Melilla fence, even forcing the same gate that leads to Chinatown. According to reports, one of the agents had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the Moroccan city of Nador.

Likewise, this same group allegedly tried, in the early hours of Saturday morning, to break through the cordon of Moroccan police forces. During this incursion, 100 Moroccan police officers were injured.