Spain rescues more than 60 African immigrants

African would-be immigrants lie on the deck of a search and rescue vessel after arriving at the Armed Forces of Malta Maritime Squadron base at Haywharf in Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour early August 16, 2012. 158 migrants were rescued by the Maltese armed forces on Thursday but six died before they could be saved, the Maltese armed forces said. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi (MALTA – Tags: SOCIETY IMMIGRATION) MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA

Spanish rescue services have saved 66 clandestine immigrants who were trying to reach Europe from Morocco on rickety boats, officials announced Monday.

Attempts to reach Europe by African migrants have increased in recent days and at least 16 drowned last week.

“Since Sunday, 11 vessels have been rescued with 66 people on board, all from sub-Saharan Africa,” the Spanish rescue services said in a statement.

The latest operations took place overnight in the Strait of Gibraltar.

At the same time, would-be migrants repeatedly tried to break though the metal barrier of the Spanish enclave of Melilla in northern Morocco.

The enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco are the only land borders between Africa and Europe and their strategic position puts Spain at the forefront of efforts to stem illegal immigration to Europe

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