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Thousands of African migrants were caught in the middle of a diplomatic feud between Morocco and Spain this week, touching off a humanitarian emergency and raising concerns about Madrid’s migration policy. The standoff between Madrid and Rabat was the latest fallout from a decades-old dispute over Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Spanish officials have accused Moroccan authorities of loosening border controls earlier this week to allow at least 8,000 migrants, including many children, to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, an autonomous city that sits on the northern tip of Morocco. The migrants scaled several fences or swam around a breakwater to reach Ceuta; authorities have already found the bodies of two young men in the water where the migrants attempted to cross.