Al 18 dead and more than 60 injured when trying to cross the Melilla border |  Video

Dozens of people were photographed next to a Moroccan border fence, some bleeding and many apparently lifeless, in a video that purports to show the aftermath of a massive migrant crossing into a Spanish enclave where At least 18 people died.

Moroccan authorities said the disaster occurred on Friday after the migrants They tried to raze a fence in the enclave of Melillaand some were crushed to death after a stampede, while others fell from the wall.

The video was posted on social media by the local branch of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), which works with immigrants, including near Melilla. The head of the AMDH section near Melilla, Omar Najisaid to Reuters that the videos had been taken by members and sympathizers of the association.

First thing on Friday morning, some 2,000 immigrants tried to storm the fence of the enclave in Spanish territory, sparking two hours of violent clashes with Moroccan and Spanish security forces, Rabat and Madrid said. About 100 people managed to cross.

Images released by AMDH showed a dense concentration of people lying in a corner gated where two tall metal fences meet at what appeared to be a border gate.

Morocco said 18 people had died. AMDH put the death toll at 29. Spain said that no person had died on its side of the border. Moroccan and Spanish authorities said the migrants had attacked border guards with guns as they tried to storm the fence.

Reuters He has not been able to speak to any of the migrants who tried to cross.

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The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa have become a magnet for most immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who trying to reach European soil.

The latest incursion comes just months after Spain changed its stance on Western Sahara to move closer to Morocco’s position, ending a year-long row over the disputed territory and securing an agreement to strengthen cooperation on border control.

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, blamed the “mafia” on Saturday of human traffickers for the fatal border incursion in which dozens of Spanish and Moroccan officers were also injured.

“It was an attack on the territorial integrity of our country”Sánchez said at a press conference in Madrid.

A video clip released by AMDH showed a large number of African immigrants lying close together, their overlapping bodies, many motionless and some gesturing weakly, with Moroccan security forces standing over them in riot gear.

The same clip showed security forces pulling two bleeding and dazed-looking migrants past those lying on the ground. Another clip showed a Moroccan security officer beating one of several migrants who were lying face down next to a metal fence.

Sánchez paid tribute Friday to officers on both sides of the border for fighting “a violent and well-organized assault”.

“The tactics of the immigrants (who try to enter Melilla) have changed. Before they extended along the entire fence. Now they are concentrating on the part where they think it is weakest,” said a Spanish police source.

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The source said that the group of migrants who tried to storm the border had attacked the border guards with sticks, knives and acid. “Everyone tries to cross at the same time”, the source said.

Eduardo de Castro, president of the regional government of Melilla, told RTVE television on Saturday: “It was a very violent assault but you have to weigh the proportionality (of the reaction) of Morocco”.

The images published on social networks by the union of officers of the Civil Guard of Spain, whose veracity Reuters could not verify, showed a large column of immigrants, mostly young men, who walked the streets near the border.

Some appeared to be carrying sticks and launching projectiles as puffs of smoke marked the air around them.

Moroccan authorities said 140 members of its security forces were also wounded, five seriously, though none were killed.

With information from Reuters

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