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Spain intercepts boat with 32 migrants

A Spanish coast guard ship rescued 32 African migrants from a boat off the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, officials said Friday.

It was the latest in a string of arrivals that suggest the Canary Islands are regaining popularity as an entry point for migrants trying to reach Europe.

The boat was intercepted late on Thursday in the south of the resort island of Gran Canaria after one of the migrants used a mobile phone to call police for help, a sea rescue service spokesman said.

All but one of the migrants, a man whose finger had gangrened, were in good health, the spokesman said, adding that among the 32 on board were two women and a child.

Their arrival brings to 160 the number of migrants rescued in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands this September, the sea rescue service says.

The Canary Islands off the Moroccan coast were a key route a decade ago for migrants from Africa trying to reach Europe, but their numbers fell after Spain increased patrolling.

Migrant arrivals in the archipelago peaked at over 30,000 in 2006 but fell back to just 296 in 2014, according to interior ministry figures.