Migrants Storm Beach in Southern Spain as Confused Sunbathers Look On

Embarking Some two dozen people reportedly African migrants jump off the boat and run onto the beach in front of surprised sunbathers and tourists

Zahara de los Atunes is one of the southernmost parts of Spain: The beach, popular with tourists and known for its tuna, is less than eight miles from the coast of North Africa.

African migrants are seeking a cheaper and risky path to Europe with a rising number setting sail for Spain from Morocco using toy dinghies and jetskis, migration experts say.

Bathers on a southern Spanish beach watched in amazement when a large dinghy carrying as many as 20 African migrants came ashore in broad daylight before its occupants fled into the surrounding countryside.

Despite seeing an increase in arrivals, Spain is still far behind Italy, which has received 96,861 until 9 August, according to the IOM. Over the past few years, migrants from North Africa and the Middle East have tended to go from Libya to Italy or through Turkey to Greece.

Faced with the danger, some may be deciding to go up along the coast instead. It seems like it is safer to go through Morocco to Spain than through Libya.

This is a different tactic to many migrants arriving from Libya, who are often packed onto leaky, overloaded boats, with the intention of summoning aid as quickly as possible.

He also said they were using smaller crafts to cross the short but choppy sea to Spain in the hope of slipping in undetected.

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Police unions said only one officer was on the beach at the time due to a lack of resources.

More than 1,600 people have been rescued off the coast of Cádiz since January.

They will be taken to migrant reception centres, where they can apply for asylum in Spain, AFP adds.

"It's always surprising to see pregnant women and children - even if there aren't many - who try to cross in these conditions, risking their life and that of the kids for a better life".

The migrants were blocked by Moroccan police before they reached the double fence at the border.

Faced with the number of recent entry attempts, authorities in Ceuta have chose to close the border for trade for over a week, to allow guards to better man the fence.