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Hundreds rescued in Mediterranean on their way to Spain: Moroccan navy

Thirty-one boats carrying 615 migrants return safely to Moroccan ports this past weekend, while Spain rescues 1,200 people
Nearly 39,000 migrants have reached Spain by sea so far this year, IOM estimates

More than 600 migrants were rescued from boats that ran into trouble in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Spain over the weekend, the Moroccan navy announced on Monday.

Thirty-one boats carrying a total of 615 migrants were returned safely to ports in the North African country, the navy said in a statement carried by MAP news agency.

"Many of the boats that transported them sank due to their dilapidated state," the statement said, without giving the nationalities of those rescued.

The Spanish coastguard, meanwhile, said on Sunday that it had rescued nearly 1,200 people bound for Spain in a 48-hour period.

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A total of 38,451 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea from the start of the year until 3 October, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

That makes Spain the leading destination for migrants this year, outpacing both Italy and Greece.

Deaths in the Mediterranean remain high, the IOM says, at 1,777 so far in 2018. But that number remains lower than the 2,749 deaths recorded at the same time last year.

On 1 October, 11 people were killed when the boat carrying them between Morocco and Spain capsized in the Mediterranean.

Another 23 people remain missing, the IOM reported, including one child and one infant.

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