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More than 800 Illegal Immigrants Land on Spain's Canary Islands Since Friday


Spanish authorities say boats carrying more than 300 African illegal immigrants reached the country's Canary Islands Saturday, bringing the total number of arrivals since Friday to more than 800.

Relief officials say two boats reached the islands of Tenerife and Gomera today, while a third arrived on the smaller island of Hierro. This follows the arrival of at least 506 Africans Friday, seeking entry to European Union countries.

The arrivals came ahead of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's visit today to migrant holding facilities on the islands.

More than 17,000 African illegal immigrants have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, more than triple the number for all of 2005. Hundreds of others have died on the way.

The European Union has launched patrols with boats and aircraft from Finland, Italy, Spain and Portugal in efforts to stem the flow.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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