MADRID: An unprecedented group of 700 migrants tried to cross the fence into Spain's Melilla enclave overnight but were rebuffed by Moroccan border forces, reports AFP.
"There were about 700 people who tried to reach the border fence," a spokesman for the Spanish government delegation in Melilla told AFP.
Although hundreds of people had tried to cross the fence before now, "we haven't seen a number like 700 before", he said, describing their efforts to reach the fence as "very well-coordinated".
"It was very well organised, they were trying to reach different points of the border fence at the same time, to split up the security forces who were trying to stop them," he said, describing the approach as "relatively new".
"There are those who lead, those who split off and those who act as scouts, in other words everything is perfectly coordinated and planned."
Spain's two tiny enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla have Europe's only land border with Africa, making them a magnet for migrants desperate to escape grinding poverty and hunger.
Several groups of hundreds of migrants tried to scale the Melilla fence throughout August, although most were rebuffed. In late July, more than 230 people managed to cross in one of the largest successful influxes in recent years.
The influx came during a diplomatic crisis between Spain and Morocco, with Madrid angering Rabat by allowing the Western Sahara separatist leader to be treated at a Spanish hospital.
The border breach was widely seen as a punitive move by Morocco.