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Spain rescues 119 migrants, launches search for 67 missing

MADRID — Spain on Monday rescued 119 migrants from the sea and was looking for 67 more believed to have gone missing on a boat while trying to reach European shores, the country’s maritime authorities said on Monday.

A spokesman with the Maritime Rescue agency said the search for the missing rubber boat in the stretch of Mediterranean Sea separating Spain from Morocco had been suspended for the night and was set to resume early Tuesday.

The official, who was not authorized to be named in media reports, said the dinghy was believed to be in Morocco’s rescue area.

He said two other rubber boats had been found in the area known as the Alborán Sea with 60 and 59 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, and that all of them would be disembarked in Spain’s southeastern city of Málaga. The migrants, including 26 women and five children, were in good health conditions, the spokesman said.

Migrants fleeing poverty or violence look for a new life in Europe by setting on a dangerous trip by sea from African coasts.

Spain, which became the main entry point into Europe in 2018, saw the number of arrivals halved last year to 26,168, but has seen a recent uptick in the number of boats heading to the Canary Islands, which lie in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa’s northeastern coast.

Morocco received 140 million euros ($155 million) in European Union funds in 2019 to crack down on illegal crossings.

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