A picture shows the border fence between Spain and Morocco in the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Picture: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Melilla - A crowd of migrants stormed over the border fence from Morocco into the Spanish territory of Melilla on Tuesday, an official said, the latest in a string of perilous crossings.

A Spanish government official in Melilla told AFP a “very big” group stormed the triple fence but declined to say how many.

Media reported that the migrants numbered several hundred, in the biggest such crossing for several years.

Melilla forms one of Europe's only two land borders with Africa, along with another Spanish territory, Ceuta, to the west.

The two cities sit across the Mediterranean from mainland Spain, surrounded by Moroccan territory, and are a key entry point for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

The number of Africans trying to cross into the territories has surged over recent months.

Scores have been injured in the attempts.

More than 200 migrants stormed over the fence into Melilla on February 28, leaving 35 injured in one of the biggest such crossings in years, officials and rights groups said.

Others have tried to sail to Spain's north African territories or to the mainland in flimsy vessels or enter the country hidden under car seats.

On February 6 about 15 migrants drowned in Moroccan waters while trying to swim to Ceuta from a nearby beach.

Rights groups and witnesses accused Spanish security forces of firing rubber bullets at the migrants in the water, which the government denied. - AFP