MADRID — Morocco said 18 migrants died trying to cross into Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla on Friday, after a violent two-hour skirmish between migrants and border officers that also led to scores of injuries.
About 2,000 migrants stormed a high fence that seals off the enclave. This led to clashes with security forces as more than 100 migrants managed to cross from Morocco into Melilla, Moroccan and Spanish authorities said.
Morocco’s Interior Ministry initially said five migrants had died in the border raid, some after falling from the fence surrounding Melilla and others in a crush, and that 76 migrants were injured. It later said an additional 13 had died.
Some 140 members of Moroccan security forces were also injured, it added, five seriously, though none of them died.
Over the past decade, Melilla and Ceuta, a second Spanish enclave also on Africa’s northern coast, have become magnets for mostly sub-Saharan migrants trying to get into Europe.
Friday’s attempt began about 6:40 a.m. in the face of resistance from Moroccan security forces.