Spain Sends Troops to Ceuta to Deter Influx of Mostly Moroccan Migrants

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    Spain is sending troops and more police to one of its North African enclaves after a record number of mostly Moroccan migrants entered the territory.

    Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said Tuesday that police numbers in Ceuta, a tiny peninsula across the Strait of Gibraltar and bordered by Morocco, will be raised by around 20%, or 200 officers. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said soldiers are also being deployed.

    Close to 7,000 people, including hundreds of children, entered the territory by swimming ashore or using rubber dinghies on Monday.

    The influx is likely to further inflame normally close relations between the two countries that took a downturn earlier this month, when Moroccan officials criticized Madrid for hosting the leader of a movement fighting for independence in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that’s claimed by Rabat.

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    In This Story: Ceuta

    Ceuta is a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. Bordered by Morocco, it lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

    It was part of the province of Cádiz until 14 March 1995. On that date, Statutes of Autonomy were passed for both Ceuta and Melilla.

    Ceuta, like Melilla and the Canary Islands, was classified as a free port before Spain joined the European Union. Its population consists of Christians, Muslims, and small minorities of Sephardic Jews and ethnic Sindhis from modern-day Pakistan.

    Spanish is the official language. Darija Arabic is also spoken by 40–50% of the population.

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  • In This Story: Morocco

    Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. Marrakesh’s medina, a mazelike medieval quarter, offers entertainment in its Djemaa el-Fna square and souks (marketplaces) selling ceramics, jewelry and metal lanterns. The capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas is a 12th-century royal fort overlooking the water. 

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  • In This Story: Spain

    Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church. 

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  • In This Story: Western Sahara

    Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. About 20% of the territory is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, while the remaining 80% of the territory is occupied and administered by neighboring Morocco.

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