MORE than 700 African migrants have stormed a border fence in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.
Many are believed to have made it onto Spanish soil in the wake of the early morning raid, and some reportedly attacked police officers with homemade flame-throwers, human faeces and quicklime as they scaled the six-metre high barbed wire-topped double barrier.
One large group reportedly used secateurs and circular saws to slice open parts of the fence before pouring through as Moroccan police and Guardia Civil officers battled to stop the onslaught for over an hour.
Ceuta Red Cross has reported more than 130 injuries, including 22 policemen, with at least 11 people hospitalised after the fence almost collapsed due to the weight of the people atop it.
Many of the immigrants who successfully crossed the border could be seen screaming with joy or kissing the floor as they roamed the streets of the North African territory.
Others headed straight to the Temporary Migrant Centre, which currently houses 600 people despite its official capacity of 520.
The overcrowding of the centre has sparked chaos in the enclave, with groups of immigrants forced to sleep in the open or makeshift tents, while 1,300 people have been rescued while trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar since Monday.
TRIUMPHANT: Migrants celebrate as they reach Spanish soil. (RTVE/Twitter)
Local media said the surprise offensive, which saw a section of the border notorious for blind spots due to a lack of security cameras targeted, could be the biggest yet seen after Moroccan police confirmed they made “hundreds” of arrests on their side of the fence.
It comes after former Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido last year told Spanish parliament that nine similar swoops on frontiers in Ceuta and Melilla – Spain’s other African enclave – in 2017 had seen 8,956 people enter Spain illegally, compared to just 613 in 2016.
And the International Organisation for Migration says that 22,700 migrants have arrived to Spain so far this year, a year-on-year increase of 300 per cent.
Llegan a la carrera #Subsaharianos tras saltar la valla que separa #Ceuta de #Marruecos #FronteraSur #Boza @SRodrigoruiz @sonietamb @HelenaMaleno @ElFarodeCeuta @CeutaTV @leperoceuti @sextaNoticias @elpais_espana @AlJazeera pic.twitter.com/vVCkb5G95b
— KARIM PRIM (@KARIMPRIM) 26 July 2018