Spain denies police role in 15 Moroccans' drowning

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 10:34 AM

MADRID (AP) — Spain's Interior Ministry has posted videos online showing police firing rubber bullets as migrants swim into Spanish territory from Morocco, but denies this contributed to the drowning of 15 migrants.

The police-produced videos show bullets striking the sea as migrants tried to swim around the fence separating Moroccan territory from Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta on Feb. 6. Earlier, hundreds had tried to breach border security barriers by land.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Friday that police fired the projectiles in front of the migrants, not directly at them. He said all victims drowned in Moroccan waters.

Ceuta is one of two Spanish territories surrounded by Morocco and the Mediterranean Sea. Annually, thousands hoping to reach Europe camp out in Morocco and try to cross over.

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