September 25, 2018 / 9:11 PM / 2 months ago

Moroccan woman dies after navy fires at speedboat carrying migrants

RABAT (Reuters) - A Moroccan woman died and three people were injured when the Moroccan navy opened fire on Tuesday at a speedboat with illegal migrants onboard, an interior ministry official said.

The boat’s driver, a Spanish national, refused an order to stop before the navy fired, the official said.

The woman succumbed to her injuries in hospital, the official said, without giving further details.

The incident happened off Morocco’s territorial waters, Morocco’s official news agency MAP said.

Morocco became the main launchpad for Europe-bound migrants in July after Italy took a tougher line and EU aid to the Libyan coastguard stemmed flows from Libya.

More than 38,852 people have crossed into Spain up to mid-September, U.N. data shows, at least twice as many as the same period of 2017.

So far this year, Moroccan officials said they foiled more than 54,000 crossing attempts to Europe. Some 13 percent of those would-be migrants are Moroccans while the rest come from other African countries.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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