Europe

Spain sees 500 southern border crossing attempts in a month

  • In this Friday Jan. 13, 2017 photo, Idris 3, from Mali, center, sleeps next to his mother Aicha Keita, right, on the deck of the Golfo Azzurro vessel after being rescued from the Mediterranean sea, about 20 miles north of Ra's Tajura, Libya. Spain's maritime rescue service says the bodies of seven African migrants have been found dead along the Strait of Gibraltar since Friday. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

    In this Friday Jan. 13, 2017 photo, Idris 3, from Mali, center, sleeps next to his mother Aicha Keita, right, on the deck of the Golfo Azzurro vessel after being rescued from the Mediterranean sea, about 20 miles north of Ra's Tajura, Libya. Spain's maritime rescue service says the bodies of seven African migrants have been found dead along the Strait of Gibraltar since Friday. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Syrian refugee man installs a satellite dish on the rooftop of his shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.  Over 62,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece after a series of Balkan border closures and a European Union deal with Turkey to stop migrant flows.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

    A Syrian refugee man installs a satellite dish on the rooftop of his shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Over 62,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece after a series of Balkan border closures and a European Union deal with Turkey to stop migrant flows.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian refugee children hold hands while passing by a group of boys playing football, at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Over 62,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece after a series of Balkan border closures and a European Union deal with Turkey to stop migrant flows.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

    Syrian refugee children hold hands while passing by a group of boys playing football, at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Over 62,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece after a series of Balkan border closures and a European Union deal with Turkey to stop migrant flows.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)  (The Associated Press)

Spanish police say migrants have attempted close to 500 illegal border crossings in just one month by trying to hide on passenger and cargo boats landing on its southern coast.

Authorities said Saturday they had registered these entry efforts departing from Spain's North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, after a monthlong police operation last year aimed to reduce the number of stowaway migrants setting foot on mainland Spanish ports like Almeria, Malaga and Motril.

Increased patrols along both docks and boats yielded almost 500 migrants trying to clandestinely bridge the Strait of Gibraltar, mostly minors dangerously hidden inside trucks, cargo or garbage containers set to be off-loaded into Spain.