MELILLA, Spain - Spain has more than doubled the strength of security forces at its North African enclave of Melilla, after about 500 people stormed its fences in the biggest border rush for years.
Madrid sent 100 more police on Tuesday and Wednesday, raising the total to 150, a source at the Interior Ministry said, and will reinforce the rapid response unit with 20 more personnel, bringing the total to 80.
Immigrants from all over Africa regularly dare the razor-wire fences of Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla, which are surrounded by Moroccan territory and sea. The numbers have multiplied as increased naval patrols discourage attempts to get to Europe by boat.
Some 1,074 people breached the 12-kilometre-long fences around Melilla in the whole of 2013, according to the source, and more than 1,600 have done so since the beginning of 2014.
Once in Melilla or Ceuta, the immigrants are fed and given clothes and beds in special centers.
Many end up in continental Spain and either stay there or travel elsewhere in Europe.