Hundreds of African migrants stormed a border fence to reach Spain today
The men shouted “Viva Espana', “We Love You Espana” and “Victory, victory” as they beat their chests in a show of joy at making it to Europe.
Many were bare chested and barefoot – and others were bleeding from deep cuts they had suffered after managing to reach Spain's north African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco.
Local authorities said they believed around 900 immigrants had attempted to storm the fence – and more than 400 had managed to cross it.
The mass assault happened around just before dawn this this morning.
Local TV broadcast extraordinary footage of the men celebrating.
Some of the immigrants were filmed jumping up and down with joy as they turned to others near the top of the fence who had failed to get across and were still stuck in Morocco.
One – bare chested and barefoot – did a somersault as he ran in the darkness ahead of other men towards a temporary migrant holding centre where they received medical attention.
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The centre, known as a CETI, is where the immigrants are given three meals a day, Spanish lessons and psychological support.
They stay for months at a time before being transferred to the mainland to relieve the pressure on living conditions.
It was not clear how the centre would cope with the influx.
In December, local governors ended up having to house immigrants in army tents they mounted in a municipal equestrian centre car park after more than 400 undocumented Africans stormed the border fence.
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They were shouting 'Viva Espana', 'We Love You Espana' and 'Victory, Victory'
The tents were taken down just before the New Year after 74 men and five women were transferred to different parts of the Spanish mainland.
At the time Ceuta's CETI was said to be housing 948 people, nearly double the 512 it was built to accommodate.
As well as mass assaults on the fence separating Ceuta from Morocco, other immigrants reach the Spanish enclave by sea or hidden in cars, with some even risking their lives by curling into balls so they can be smuggled across the border under the bonnets of modified vehicles.
Fifty Moroccan and five Spanish border guards were injured on New Years Eve when 1,100 African immigrants tried to scale the 20ft fence around 4am on New Years Day.
Local authorities believed around 900 immigrants had attempted to storm the fence
Only two managed to make it to Ceuta. One border guard is said to have to lost an eye.
The attempt was described at the time as “extremely violent and organised” by Spain's government representative in Ceuta.
Ceuta, 18 miles across the water from Gibraltar, is one of Spain's two north African enclaves.
The other, Melilla, also has a high border fence, which has witnessed spectacular mass assaults by sub-Saharan African immigrants who in some cases have spent years trying to reach Europe.
European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex revealed earlier this week that 1,000 immigrants managed to cross the Ceuta and Melilla border fences last year.
This morning's assault on the fence in Ceuta is believed to have taken place at four different points, suggesting it was also a highly-organised attempt designed to complicate the work of Moroccan and Spanish police trying to stop them.
A spokesman for a local emergency coordination centre said: “Red Cross Ceuta is assisting some 400 people in the CETI, although that's not a definitive figure.
“We have not yet got information about how many are injured and possible transfers to hospital.
“Civil Guard indicate up to 500 people may have managed to make it into Ceuta.”
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