Spanish vessels pick up 160 migrants attempting to cross sea

MADRID — Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service says it has picked up 160 people from five boats that were crossing a narrow stretch of the Mediterranean Sea from Northern Africa.

The rescue service says 57 migrants were rescued from three of the boats on Sunday morning and brought ashore in Tarifa, a town at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

Another rescue vessel took 103 people from the other boats to Algeciras, a large port city to the east.

The number of people reaching Europe by the so-called Western Mediterranean land and sea route to Spain has surpassed boat arrivals to Italy this year.

The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration says about 15,000 migrants have made it to Spain via the short but dangerous trip across the Strait of Gibraltar.

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